By Richard Leong
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stock prices rose slightly on Wednesday helped by a late recovery in oil prices and an encouraging economic report from the Federal Reserve, but equity prices in other major world markets fell on worrisome Chinese and European factory data.
The U.S. dollar slipped on fresh doubts about a Federal Reserve interest rate rise in June and Japan’s postponement of a sales tax increase which helped to boost the yen.
Oil prices ended lower but recovered from the day’s worst levels after OPEC sources said the group will likely consider a production curb at its meeting on Thursday in Vienna.
U.S. Treasury bond prices ended lower on the late bounce in stock and commodity prices.
Global manufacturing activity remained stuck in a rut last month with factory output from Asia, Europe and the Americas barely improving as producers struggled to bring in new orders, surveys released on Wednesday showed.
Speculation in recent weeks that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the next few months and worries that a possible British exit from the European Union have undermined business confidence.
“The world economy will meander along at its slowest pace since the financial crisis for a second year in a row in 2016 as it is ensnared in a “low-growth trap”, the OECD said on Wednesday, urging governments to boost spending.
The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, released late Wednesday, showed modest growth across most economic regions, while noting that inflation is edging up and the labor market improving.
“The numbers are not bad; they’re just not good either,” Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland, said about recent economic data. “We’re kind of trapped in limbo that way with respect to a lot of the fundamentals.”
The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 0.01 percent at 17,789.67, the S&P 500 index finished 0.1 percent higher at 2,099.33 and the Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.08 percent, at 4,952.25.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 fell 1.0 percent to 1,350.34, led by the resources sector.
Tokyo’s Nikkei earlier ended down 1.6 percent.
The MSCI world index, which tracks shares in 45 countries, shed 0.1 percent, retreating from a one-month high earlier this week.
Brent crude oil settled down 17 cents, or 0.34 percent, at $49.72 a barrel, while U.S. crude ended 9 cents, or 0.18 percent, lower at $49.01.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six currencies, fell 0.5 percent to 95.413.
The U.S. currency fell to a two-month low against the yen after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delayed a planned sales tax increase. The greenback was down more than 1.0 percent at 109.51 yen.
The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose one basis point to 1.846 percent in late trading as traders shift their focus to Friday’s U.S. Labor Department payrolls and unemployment report.
Gold prices turned negative, erasing earlier gains. Spot gold fell $3.58, or 0.29 percent, to $1,211.11 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Sujata Rao, Atul Prakash and Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Clive McKeef)
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