Wall St. on hold before U.S. rate decision; oil at three-month lows | Reuters
By Lewis Krauskopf | NEW YORK NEW YORK Major U.S. stock indexes paused on Monday as investors braced for a potential U.S. interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve later in the week, while oil prices hovered near three-month lows.The dollar steadied against a basket of currencies .DXY after touching a two-week low.Friday's strong U.S
By Lewis Krauskopf
| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Major U.S. stock indexes paused on Monday as investors braced for a potential U.S. interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve later in the week, while oil prices hovered near three-month lows.The dollar steadied against a basket of currencies .DXY after touching a two-week low.Friday's strong U.S. employment report solidified a view among Wall Street's top banks that the Federal Reserve will boost interest rates when its policymakers meet this week.With a rate hike widely expected, market watchers will be looking for signals about the pace of future increases."Other than the Fed on Wednesday, I don’t see anything going on to make any decisions on," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 21.5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,881.48, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.87 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,373.47 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 14.06 points, or 0.24 percent, to 5,875.78.Corporate deal-making continued as chips giant Intel (INTC.O) said it would acquire driverless technology firm Mobileye (MBLY.N) for $15.3 billion. Mobileye shares jumped 28 percent.
In Europe, Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW.L) rallied 11.6 percent after oil services company Wood Group (WG.L) agreed to buy the company for $2.7 billion.The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.4 percent, led by increases in mining shares.MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.3 percent.
Aside from the Fed meeting, which starts on Tuesday, the world's most powerful finance ministers and central bankers convene in the German town of Baden Baden starting on Friday, their first meeting since Donald Trump won the U.S. election.Oil hovered around three-month lows as rising inventories and drilling activity in the United States offset optimism over OPEC's efforts to restrict crude output and reduce a global glut.U.S. crude CLc1 settled down 0.2 percent at $48.40 a barrel, and touched its lowest point since Nov 30. Brent crude LCOc1 settled down 0.04 percent at $51.35 a barrel.The dollar edged up 0.1 percent against a basket of key world currencies, recovering after Friday's bout of profit-taking following the robust U.S. jobs report.
"We remain bullish on the dollar, but as Friday's events suggested, a lot of good news is already priced into the dollar at current levels," said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.Sterling, which has been one of the worst performers against the dollar the last two weeks, rose half a percent after Scotland demanded the right to hold a new referendum on independence.U.S. Treasury yields edged higher in anticipation of an interest rate increase on Wednesday, nervousness that the central bank could indicate a more aggressive pace of future rate hikes, and new corporate bond supply.Prices for benchmark 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR fell 9/32 to yield 2.615 percent, from a yield of 2.582 percent late on Friday.The prospect of imminent interest rate rises kept spot gold XAU= near five-week lows touched last week. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Sam Forgione and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.