Treasury yields edge up

European stocks gain

Gold prices fall

Global stocks posted gentle rises after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates but didn’t provide strong guidance about future actions.

A divided Fed cut interest rates by a quarter percentage point to cushion a slowing U.S. economy amid a global slowdown. Two reserve bank presidents preferred to hold rates steady and one wanted a half percentage-point cut.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said officials still have a positive outlook for the U.S. economy. But he signaled less certainty about the rate path than at the central bank’s late July meeting, saying it “is going meeting by meeting.”

Investors were looking for the Fed to give a stronger indicator of future actions as they position themselves in an unclear market environment, said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. Uncertainty surrounding U.S.-China trade tensions, Brexit and recent sanctions against Iran following an attack on critical Saudi Arabian oil facilities has left the market waiting to see what happens next, he said.

“The Fed sort of sat on the fence really. It did what the market expected,” Mr. Hewson said. “As a result we’re not really further forward than we were 24 hours ago.”

The Stoxx Europe 600 opened up 0.4% after a mostly positive session in Asia. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was an outlier, with a 1.2% drop.

Earlier, the Bank of Japan said it would hold interest rates steady, as did the Swiss National Bank. The Bank of England and Norway’s central bank will both announce their decisions on interest rates later Thursday.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.801%, from 1.777% Wednesday. The yield on 10-year German bunds also gained, to minus 0.486% from minus 0.509% Wednesday.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as a screen shows Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s news conference after the central bank’s interest-rate decision, Sept. 18, 2019. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Brent crude oil rose 0.1% to $63.68 a barrel, having largely recovered from price spikes earlier this week following attacks on two Saudi Arabian oil facilities than knocked out 5.7 million barrels of daily oil production. The country’s energy minister has said it would restore most of its oil output and return to normal production levels by the end of the month.

Gold also fell 0.9% after the Fed withheld guidance on future rate cuts, which would likely send the precious metal’s prices higher.

Later today, the National Association of Realtors will release U.S. existing-home sales figures for August. In July, sales of previously owned U.S. homes picked up, a sign that lower mortgage rates may be finally starting to drive sales after a weak spring selling season.

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com

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