Shares tick up ahead of Fed minutes, gold falls

Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:26am EST
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The euro fell on Wednesday while stock markets around the world were little changed after a report that the European Central Bank was considering a negative deposit rate.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported that the ECB was considering making banks pay to deposit cash with it overnight, and that if it decides to take the deposit rate into negative territory from the current level of zero, it would consider an interest rate of -0.1 percent.

The euro fell to its lows of the day while the U.S. dollar index .DXY rose 0.2 percent to its highs of the day.

Equity investors were looking ahead to upcoming comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was expected to confirm that its stimulus would remain in place, while the euro slumped after a report.

The program, as well as similar programs from other major central banks, has fueled equity gains in 2013, taking Wall Street to repeated all-time highs and other regions to multi-year highs.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke set the tone late on Tuesday for what is expected to be a cautiously upbeat assessment from the Fed minutes, saying the U.S. central bank would keep monetary policy ultra-easy as long as needed.

"There's been talk that tapering is coming soon. Maybe this takes some pressure off" the market, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.

While the Fed's accommodative monetary policy is expected to provide a floor under equities for as long as it continues, questions about when it will start to be slowed have tempered some buying enthusiasm. In addition, the size of the rally has market participants seeking new catalysts in an environment marked by signs of tepid economic growth.   Continued...

A man walks through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange August 5, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett