World stock markets were modestly lower on Monday as investors look to this week’s Federal Reserve meeting for more clues about the strength of the U.S. recovery.
A number of markets across Asia, including Japan’s, were closed for holidays. Oil prices fell, while the dollar rose against the yen and the euro.
World markets posted more gains last week as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said recession in the world’s largest economy was “likely over.”
This week, investors will watch closely what the Fed has to say about the economy and the scale of the recovery after a two-day meeting that wraps up on Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to leave rock-bottom interest rates unchanged, though investors will be looking for clues in the central bank’s statement about when hikes might start. Early in Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4 per cent, Germany’s DAX fell 0.8 per cent and France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.3 per cent.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 150.60 points, or 0.7 per cent.China’s Shanghai benchmark was up 0.2 per cent at 2,967.01 and Australia’s benchmark shed 0.3 per cent.
Financial markets in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore were also closed Monday for holidays.
More dealmaking and a favourable economic forecast were not enough to carry stocks higher on Monday as markets around the globe cooled from a recent surge.
The Dow Jones industrials and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost about 0.6 per cent in early trading.