Global shares remain lower, dollar up after Fed minutes

Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:28pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets remained slightly lower and the dollar a bit higher on Wednesday after minutes from a meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers last month indicated they might raise interest rates if the U.S. economy continued to strengthen.

Market reaction was muted as there was little revelatory in the minutes from the Sept. 20-21 meeting, with policymakers divided on how much longer they should allow the labor market and inflation to improve before lifting rates.

Oil prices fell 1 percent after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its output hit an eight-year high in September, offsetting optimism over the group's pledge to bring a global crude glut under control.

Sterling rebounded from a brutal selloff since last week as British Prime Minister Theresa May's offer to give UK lawmakers a say in plans to leave the European Union calmed fears of a "hard Brexit" - an all-out clear break from the single market.

U.S. equity markets rose before the release of the Federal Open Market Committee's minutes and closed flat after a narrow, see-saw session. European markets and an index of global equity performance traded lower.

Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, said the Dec. 13-14 FOMC meeting will show whether Fed Chair Janet Yellen goes through with a rate hike she has been telegraphing since August.

"We remain where we were: a market still betting Chair Yellen wants a hike in December," Krosby said.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 15.54 points, or 0.09 percent, to 18,144.2. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 2.44 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,139.17 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC lost 7.77 points, or 0.15 percent, to 5,239.02.   Continued...

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Staff/Remote