Global stocks lower ahead of Federal Reserve meeting

BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks and Wall Street futures edged lower on Monday as investors looked to this week’s Federal Reserve conference for signs of more possible U.S. rate hikes to cool rising inflation .

London and Frankfurt opened lower. Tokyo and Hong Kong declined. Shanghai, the only major market to advance, gained after China’s central bank cut a rate that affects mortgage costs. Oil prices fell more than $1.50 a barrel.

Investors are eyeing the Fed’s annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, after minutes from the US central bank’s July board meeting last week confirmed plans to raise rates despite signs of economic activity weaker Traders fear that aggressive steps to contain inflation nearing multi-decade highs could derail global economic growth.

“The Fed is still feeling inflation. Its actions haven’t even begun to reduce inflationary pressures,” Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities said in a report. “Nor have they begun to restrict economic activity at all. The economic slowdown was already in play for other reasons.”

In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.7% to 7,494.91 and Frankfurt’s DAX fell 1.1% to 13,544.52. The CAC 40 in Paris sank 1.6% to 6,389.86.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.6% and those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5%.

On Friday, the S&P 500 lost 1.3%. It ended the week down 1.2%. The index is down 11.3% this year.

The Dow fell 0.9% and the Nasdaq fell 2%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.6% to 3,275.93 after the People’s Bank of China cut its prime lending rate, a target for market interest rates, to a five-year loan to shore up weak home sales.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 sank 0.5% to 28,794.50. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 0.6% at 19,656.98.

The Kospi in South Korea shed 1.2% to 2,462.50 and Sydney’s S&P ASX-200 fell 1% to 7,046.90.

India’s Sensex opened up 1% to 59,017.57. New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok advanced while Jakarta dropped.

China’s central bank cut its five-year lending target by 0.15 percentage points to 4.3%. The one-year loan rate, which affects other industries, fell just 0.05 percentage points to 3.65%.

The Communist Party government is trying to revive economic growth after a debt crackdown caused property sales to slump and Shanghai and other industrial cities shut down for weeks starting in late March to combat virus outbreaks.

The move “reflects the severity” of the property slump and shows Beijing is “willing to take stronger action,” Invesco’s David Chao said in a report.

Chinese leaders are trying to revive economic growth without using blanket stimulus that could raise inflation or politically sensitive housing costs.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost $1.52 to $88.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for international trade, was down $1.55 at $95.17 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 137.13 yen from 136.91 on Friday. The euro fell to $1.0016 from $1.0034.

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