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Stocks drift as weak US earnings add to growth concerns

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. U.S. stocks are tumbling in midday trading, weighed down by disappointing forecasts from big-name companies and an unexpected drop in orders of long-lasting goods. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. U.S. stocks are tumbling in midday trading, weighed down by disappointing forecasts from big-name companies and an unexpected drop in orders of long-lasting goods. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks drifted Wednesday after weak earnings from several U.S. companies added to global growth concerns as investors waited for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest statement on monetary policy.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 percent to 10,655.41 and France’s CAC 40 shed 0.4 percent to 4,603.69. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent to 6,801.77. Wall Street looked set for a small recovery on the open. Dow futures were up 0.3 percent while S&P 500 futures gained 0.5 percent.

US ECONOMY: Wall Street slumped Tuesday after companies including Microsoft, Caterpillar and Procter & Gamble reported disappointing earnings. Lower orders for durable goods fueled concern about the American economy’s ability to drive earnings if global growth weakens. The Fed ends its first policy meeting of 2015 on Wednesday and is widely expected to repeat its pledge to be patient in raising interest rates from record lows. Inflation has fallen further below the Fed’s target rate, thanks to plunging oil prices and a surging dollar that makes imports cheaper.

THE QUOTE: “The impact of global growth is slowly starting to be reflected in corporate earnings with an underwhelming reporting session in the US setting the tone for global markets,” IG strategist Stan Shamu said in a commentary. The weak earnings “set off the alarm bells and resulted in investors exercising caution ahead of the results from the Fed meeting which concludes today,” he said. “Not much change is expected from the Fed after the detailed commentary from the last meeting.”

EUROPE: Greece was the focus in Europe after its new government said it would change many of the budget measures promised to eurozone creditor nations in exchange for rescue loans. Stocks and bonds fell sharply in Athens, but were largely steady in the rest of Europe, suggesting investors are not yet worried that a crisis over Athens’ debt might destabilize other eurozone countries.

ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.4 percent to 3,305.74. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent to 17,795.73 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent to 24,861.81. Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.5 percent to 1,961.58 and Sydney, New Zealand and Bangkok also rose. Benchmarks in Taiwan, India and Singapore declined.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 70 cents to $45.54 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.08 on Tuesday to close at $46.23.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 117.85 yen from Tuesday’s 117.80 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1348 from the previous session’s $1.1362.

 

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