Global stocks slide, dollar gains ahead of Fed minutes

Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:32am EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets slid for a fifth day on Wednesday and the dollar strengthened ahead of a report from the latest Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting that is expected to hint, at the least, of a pullback of economic stimulus in September.

Most U.S., European and emerging market stocks fell, as did U.S. Treasury and German bonds prices, amid caution ahead of the release of the Fed's minutes from its July 30-31 meeting at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). The Nasdaq countered the trend, rising slightly.

The dollar edged higher from a six-month low against the euro and gained versus the yen as traders bet the minutes will reinforce expectations of a pullback in the Fed's bond-buying program aimed at spurring growth by keeping interest rates low.

Investors are looking for insight on how and when the Fed will begin to cut back on its bond buying, said Wilmer Stith, co-manager of the Wilmington Broad Market Bond Fund in Baltimore.

"Even if we don't really get anything out of the minutes that sheds new light on the question, at the end of the day people are getting set up for a tapering event in September," Stith said.

MSCI's all-country stock index .MIWD00000PUS was down 0.54 percent at 368.22, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 of top regional shares fell 0.37 percent to 1,210.24.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 44.46 points, or 0.30 percent, at 14,958.53. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 3.97 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,648.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 0.26 points, or 0.01 percent, at 3,613.33.

"I believe tapering is going to begin in September because it has to. The market needs to adjust to the beginning of getting back to normal on rates," said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING U.S. Investment Management in New York.   Continued...

Workers speak above an electronic information board at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett