September 20, 2016 / 12:47 AM / a year ago

Dollar inches up, stocks flat as focus on Fed, BOJ

A man (R) cleans electronic boards showing Japan's Nikkei average, the exchange rate between the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar and stock quotation outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, in this April 6, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar edged up while world stock indexes were flat on Tuesday as investors awaited the outcomes of Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan policy meetings that will conclude on Wednesday.

Investor expectations are low that the Fed will raise U.S. short-term interest rates. But the focus will be on Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Wednesday for any hint that the U.S. central bank could hike rates as soon as December.

The Bank of Japan is expected to ease its ultra-loose policies further, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

“Not many think the Fed is going to hike tomorrow, but whether they change the language to get a little more hawkish, there’s been conversation around that,” said Walter Todd, chief investment officer at Greenwood Capital in Greenwood, South Carolina.

“The Bank of Japan is a whole other issue unto itself... Given the level of uncertainty around those two meetings, I just think people are kind of biding their time.”

Nagging doubts about the firepower left available to top central banks have added to volatility in markets recently.

The dollar index rose 0.2 percent .DXY to 95.995, just below the 96.108 mark touched on Friday that was the highest since Sept. 1.

U.S. stocks ended little changed, with healthcare .SPXHC gains offsetting declines in energy .SPNY.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI added 9.79 points, or 0.05 percent, to 18,129.96; the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.64 point, or 0.03 percent, to 2,139.76; and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC rose 6.33 points, or 0.12 percent, to 5,241.35.

Wells Fargo & Co’s (WFC.N) chief executive officer told a U.S. Senate panel that customers who had bogus accounts opened in their names by bank employees will be made whole and compensated for any damage to their credit rating, but some Democratic senators called for his resignation. Wells Fargo (WFC.N) shares ended up 1.2 percent at $46.56.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS was little changed, while European shares .FTEU3 also closed flat.

U.S. Treasury yields fell as traders bought longer-dated bonds on uncertainty over the outcome of the BOJ meeting.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR were up 2/32 in price for a yield of 1.689 percent, down 1 basis point from Monday’s close.

U.S. oil prices rose slightly, lifted by hopes the planned restart of the country’s main gasoline pipeline after a leak more than a week ago will boost demand, while Brent slipped.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 rose 14 cents to settle at $43.44 a barrel, while Brent futures LCOc1 dipped 7 cents to settle at $45.88.

Gold steadied as the Fed meeting began. Spot gold XAU= was up 0.1 percent at $1,314.54 an ounce.

For Reuters new Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets

Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish and Dan Grebler

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