It was another tale of two halves overnight, with solid gains in Europe countered by weakness in the US.
Overall, European stocks were little changed near a five-year high after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signalled the central bank will maintain stimulus measures to support the U.S. economic recovery.
In London, the FTSE 100 added 36 points (+0.5%) to close at 6840 while the German DAX gained 59 points (+0.7%) to finish at 8531. U.S. stocks fell, with benchmark indices retreating from record highs, as concern grew that the Federal Reserve will scale back its stimulus efforts if the labor market continues to improve.
The S&P 500 dropped 14 points (-0.8%) to close at 1655 in New York, after rallying as much as 1.1% earlier. The blue chip Dow Jones lost 80 points (-0.5%) close at 15307.
Gold futures closed lower following wide prices swings as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled that U.S. monetary stimulus may be scaled back. Bullion for June delivery dropped 0.7% to close at US$1367 an ounce on the Comex in New York.
Crude Oil fell the most in three weeks as a government report showed U.S. gasoline supplies unexpectedly advanced 3 million barrels and crude stockpiles declined less than expected.
The US dollar rose against most major peers after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank may taper monthly bond purchases at its next few meetings if it’s confident of sustained gains in the economy.
The pound fell to a one-month low against the euro after a government report showed U.K. retail sales unexpectedly declined last month. The Melbourne Institute Inflation Expectations report will be released today at 11:00 am.