Markets Right Now: Wall Street poised for steady open

LONDON (AP) — The Latest news on global financial markets (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Wall Street is set to open on a steady note following cautious trading in both Europe and Asia that had its roots in a drop in oil prices.

Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures are set to open around 0.2 percent higher at the bell.

Market observers said the pause was likely following a stellar start to the week. Both the Dow and S&P closed at 2016 highs on Tuesday.

Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, said "the ability to maintain such an intense pace of stock market gains was always questionable."

In Europe, the main stock markets were trading in narrow ranges, with Germany's DAX 0.2 percent higher at 10,368 and the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares down 0.2 percent at 6,395.

Oil prices have been at the heart of stock market moves this year and their rebound this week have been viewed as a sign that the global economic outlook has improved. On Wednesday, the benchmark New York rate was down 61 cents at $41.86 a barrel.


10:20 a.m.

European stocks are down in morning trading, tracking their Asian counterparts, as a recent improvement in investor sentiment appeared to run out of steam.

Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent at 6,382.19 on Wednesday while Germany's DAX dropped 0.2 percent to 10,324.79. France's CAC 40 was down 0.4 percent at 4,549.32.

Investors in Europe will be gradually turning their attention to Thursday's meeting by the European Central Bank. It is not expected to provide more stimulus, after having announced a raft of measures at its last meeting in March. But analysts say that the bank's president, Mario Draghi, will be keen to convey the message during his news conference that more stimulus is possible and available, as needed.

Traders also seem to be reacting to mostly downbeat corporate data, including weak earnings for banks and a 15 percent slide in the shares of Mitsubishi, which said it found evidence its employees falsified fuel mileage test data for several models of vehicles.


7:30 a.m.

Asian shares were mostly lower by mid-afternoon Wednesday, as sharp declines in Chinese benchmarks and a relapse in oil prices renewed concern over the recent failure of producing nations to agree on capping output.

The Shanghai Composite index sank by nearly 4 percent to 2,922.51 in a late-in-the day sell-off that market players said had no obvious apparent cause.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent to 16,906.54 and the Australian S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 5,281.20. Most other benchmarks in the region were lower.


5:00 a.m.

Asian stocks meandered Wednesday, though sentiment was lifted by Wall Street's strong day, as investor attention turned to upcoming remarks from a European Central Bank official.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.5 percent in morning trading to 16,962.28. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 5,271.80. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.3 percent to 2,016.81. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent to 21,307.82, while the Shanghai Composite inched up nearly 0.1 percent to 3,044.98.