Global Stocks Ease Before Powell’s Inflation Speech

Global stocks eased on Wednesday in advance of a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, with the S&P 500 now on track for its third straight loss following a sell-off in technology shares. A gauge of world stock markets hit a four-month high a day earlier after the U.S. central bank’s minutes from its latest policy meeting suggested that another rate increase may be on the horizon.

The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.18% on Wednesday while the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.07%. The DAX in Frankfurt, however, lost 0.55%.

In early U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.11%, the S&P 500 was down 0.48% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.26%.

The U.S. dollar was mostly weaker against other major currencies. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.07% at 94.44.

Fed Chairman Powell is scheduled to give a speech at a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later Wednesday. Investors will scour the remarks for insight into the path of monetary policy in the U.S. given the concern on the financial markets that Powell may signal more gradual rate hikes given recent market turbulence.

Earlier this year, the Fed raised interest rates four times in 2018 and plans to tighten policy further. The U.S. central bank also forecasts two more rate hikes for 2019.

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