Global stocks edge up, commodities slip amid China, Fed uncertainty

Thu Oct 1, 2015 4:18pm EDT
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By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equities rose modestly on Thursday in choppy trading and as investors continued to examine the depths of China's slowdown and search for clarity on the timing of an interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Wall Street inched up as economic data on the labor market and manufacturing gave mixed messages on the state of the U.S. economy, ahead of a key payrolls report on Friday that may provide clues for when the Fed will hike rates.

"Investors are holding their breath for tomorrow's number and we have earnings next week," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.

"Given the weight of the news we're going to see tomorrow and the importance of what we're going to hear next week, most investors are going to take a wait-and-see attitude to the market."

The Purchasing Managers' Index indicated China's manufacturing shrank again in September, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still cooling more rapidly than expected a few months ago, but kept fears of a hard landing for the world's second-largest economy at bay.

China's markets will be closed until Oct. 8 for the National Golden Week holidays.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 12.69 points, or 0.08 percent, to 16,272.01, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.79 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,923.82 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 6.92 points, or 0.15 percent, to 4,627.08.

The FTSEuroFirst 300 index .FTEU3 in Europe slipped 0.4 percent, while MSCI's all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.33 percent on the heels of its worst quarter in four years.   Continued...

A man shelters under an umbrella as he walks past the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett