TOKYO (AP) — Shares fell in Europe and Asia on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve pushed ahead with its latest interest rate hike. Greece was meeting with European creditors to discuss further relief of its debt load.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX fell 0.6 percent to 12,727.14 while the CAC40 of France sank 0.8 percent to 5,202.60. The FTSE 100 of Britain dropped 0.4 percent to 7,474.40. U.S. shares looked set to open lower, with Dow futures down 0.3 percent and S&P futures off 0.5 percent.
GREECE DEBT: Athens hopes to secure more bailout funds to meet a summer debt repayment hump and to force a debt relief deal at a meeting Thursday of finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone. The main obstacle to an agreement is a difference of opinion between the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund over Greece’s long-term debt outlook.
RATE HIKE: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time since December, something investors had widely expected based on the Fed’s recent statements. Fed leaders, including Chair Janet Yellen, suggested they still expect to raise rates again later in the year.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “Against the backdrop of mixed economic performances, Fed Chair Yellen had unexpectedly stuck to a more optimistic view on economic conditions,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. “Notably, however, the Fed’s inflation outlook (was) lowered, reflecting a more moderated outlook that is expected to invite more scrutiny on their upcoming decisions.”
HONG KONG: The Hong Kong Monetary Authority raised interest rates after the Fed’s move, to help keep the territory’s currency at a stable rate against the U.S. dollar. That spurred selling of real estate developers’ shares.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.3 percent to 19,831.82 and South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.5 percent to 2,361.65. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 1.2 percent to 25,565.34, but Shanghai’s Composite index rose 0.1 percent lower to 3,132.49. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia tumbled 1.2 percent to 5,763.20. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly lower.
ENERGY: Oil futures had plunged overnight after the U.S. government said oil supplies shrank only slightly last week while gasoline stockpiles grew. Benchmark U.S. crude fell another 15 cents to $44.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $1.73, or 3.7 percent, to settle at $44.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 6 cents to $46.94 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.75 from 109.57 yen. The euro dropped to $1.1160 from $1.1217.