SEOUL, South Korea — Global stock markets were higher Thursday ahead of the Bank of England’s upcoming announcement of its monetary policy decision.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up less than 0.1 percent to 6,637.29 in early trading while Germany’s DAX rose 0.7 percent to 10,236.17. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent to 4,332.92. Futures augured a tepid start on Wall Street. Dow futures remained nearly unchanged while S&P futures also stayed almost flat.
UK WATCH: Bank of England is widely expected to unveil stimulus measures including a rate cut when it announces its monetary policy decision later Thursday after Asian markets close. Some analysts also expect the bank will announce the creation of billions in new money as early indicators since the U.K. referendum to leave the European Union suggest that the economy is contracting at its sharpest rate since 2009. Analysts expected increased volatility in the foreign exchange market ahead of the decision.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “The question is, not so much, if the BoE will ease policy, but rather how the BoE will choose to deliver policy easing,” Mizuho Bank wrote in a daily commentary. If the bank’s decision falls short of market expectations, “there is a risk of markets being disappointed.”
ASIA’S DAY: After trading lower in the morning session, Japan’s Nikkei 225 finished 1.1 percent higher at 16,254.89. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,000.03 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.4 percent to 21,832.23. China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 2,982.43. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian markets finished higher.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 11 cents at $40.72 per barrel in New York. The contract jumped $1.32, or 3.3 percent, to close at $40.83 on Wednesday after the U.S. government said stockpiles of gasoline shrank by more than 3 million barrels last week. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, dropped 40 cents to $42.70 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 101.38 yen from 101.28 yen while the euro fell to $1.1127 from $1.1148.