LONDON -- European stock markets traded in fairly narrow ranges Wednesday as investors looked ahead to an anticipated U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut later in the day.
Markets have generally recovered their poise a day after being spooked by comments from President Donald Trump, who accused Beijing of trying to stall in trade talks through the 2020 presidential election in hopes of being able to negotiate with a more malleable Democrat. He said that if re-elected, he would get "much tougher" with Beijing.
Now the focus is very much on the Fed, which is expected to cut its main interest rate for the first time in more than a decade from the current range of 2.25-2.50%.
"With markets pricing a 79% chance of a 25-basis point cut, there is still an outside chance of a dramatic 50-basis point shift today," said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG.
In Europe, France's CAC 40 was up 0.1% at 5,518 while Germany's DAX edged up 0.2% to 12,176. The FTSE 100 of leading British shares, which has outperformed its European counterparts this week, was 0.7% lower at 7,595.
Wall Street was poised for modest gains at the bell with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures both up 0.3%.
Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.9% to 21,521.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5% to 6,812.60. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.7% to 2,024.55. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.3% to 27,777.75, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.7% to 2,932.51.
ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil added 40 cents to $58.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, the international standard, gained 43 cents to $65.06 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The euro was flat at $1.1146 while the dollar was steady at 108.56 yen.