European markets opened higher and Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday as investors watched for a U.S. Federal Reserve decision on a possible interest rate cut after oil prices fell back.
Benchmarks in London, Frankfurt and Shanghai advanced while Tokyo and Hong Kong slipped.
Markets steadied following a decline in oil prices that had spiked after a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility cut production equal to 5% of the global total. The Saudi oil minister said half of that had been restored.
“Concerns surrounding elevated oil prices have eased,” Mizuho Bank said in a report.
In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.1% to 7,350.54 and Frankfurt’s DAX added 0.2% to 12,388.27. France’s CAC 40 was 0.1% higher at 5,624.83.
On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.1%.
Investors looked ahead to a possible Fed decision to cut its benchmark interest rate by another quarter point following a reduction in July that was its first in a decade.
On Tuesday, U.S. shares gained after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York injected $53 billion into markets to ease tight credit conditions that were pushing interest rates higher.
“The underlying issue is the growing scarcity of excess reserves in the system,” Chris Weston of Pepperstone Group said in a report.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.2% to 2,985.66 while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.2% to 21,960.71. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 0.1% to 26,754.12.
Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.2% to 2,070.73 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 fell 0.2% to 6,681.60. India’s Sensex advanced 0.3% to 36,592.16.
Taiwan advanced while New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets retreated.
On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% and the Dow added 0.1%. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.4%.
Energy stocks slumped to give back nearly half of the previous day’s huge gains. Rising prices for technology stocks and companies that sell to consumers made up for those losses.
Investor worries about the U.S.-Chinese tariff war were temporarily overshadowed by the weekend attack on oil producer Saudi Aramco’s facility in Abqaiq. Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility, but U.S. officials said they suspected Iran.
Crude surged more than 14% on Monday, about as much as it did when Iraq invaded Kuwait before the 1991 Gulf War. The attack forced Abqaiq to cut production equivalent to 5% of the global total, but the Saudi oil minister said it would be completely restored by the end of the month.
Also Wednesday, Japan reported exports fell for a ninth month in August, declining 8.2% in August from a year earlier.
“Exports are likely to remain weak over the coming year,” Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a report.
The Chinese government announced it will release pork from stockpiles to rein in surging prices ahead of the Oct. 1 celebrations of the ruling Communist Party’s 70th anniversary in power.
Pork prices have soared almost 50% from a year ago due to an outbreak of African swine fever, which has killed or prompted authorities to destroy more than 1 million pigs.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 56 cents to $58.78 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $3.56 on Tuesday to close at $59.34. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 56 cents to $63.99 per barrel in London. It sank $4.47 the previous session to $64.55.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 108.22 yen from 108.12 yen on Monday. The euro declined to $1.1051 from $1.1072.