Global markets were little changed overnight, with all major indices on both sides of the Atlantic moving less than 20 points.
European stocks erased their decline in the final half an hour of trading, leaving the Stoxx Europe 600 Index little changed at its highest level in a month. In London the FTSE shed eight points (-0.1%) to settle at 6505, whilst in Germany the DAX put on nine points (+0.1%) to finished at 8066.
U.S. stocks were little changed as investors analysed minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for signs on when the central bank might slow the pace of stimulus efforts.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says that the U.S. central bank will continue to pursue an accommodative monetary policy for now as inflation remains low and the employment rate may be overstating the health of the labour market.
“The overall message is accommodation,” Mr Bernake said at a conference sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research. He said that a “highly accommodative policy is needed for the foreseeable future.”
The Fed chairman sounded several dovish notes. He said the current unemployment rate of 7.6% “if anything overstates the health of the labour market” and said the central bank will not automatically raise interest rates when the unemployment rate hits 6.5%.
Gold futures jumped to a one-week high as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed many officials want to see more signs of employment picking up before they begin slowing the pace of bond purchases.
Gold futures for August delivery climbed 0.3% to $1,249.10 on the Comex in New York.
Crude surged to a 15-month high after U.S. stockpiles tumbled for a second week.
Oil for August delivery climbed $2.99 to $106.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since March 27, 2012.
Copper futures rebounded from a one-week low after imports climbed to the highest since September in China, the world’s top consumer of industrial metals. Copper futures for September delivery climbed 0.9% to settle at $3.091 a pound on the Comex in New York.
The greenback declined versus most of its major peers after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said inflation and unemployment rates signal the U.S. economy needs more stimulus.
Today’s session will data in the form of the Melbourne Institute inflation gauge, at 11:00am, and the latest employment change and unemployment rate numbers, 11:30am.