Investment market update
UK stocks are expected to open lower this morning after minutes from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting revealed a willingness among board members to raise interest rates in June.
Asian stocks were mixed while US stocks closed little changed, with a rally in banks offsetting broader declines in consumer shares, as Federal Reserve policy makers signalled a willingness to raise borrowing costs in June if the economy continues to improve.
UK stocks closed little changed, halting the rebound started on Friday. Financial firms rallied, with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Standard Life Plc and Barclays Plc climbing more than 3.7%. Miners dropped, with Anglo American Plc, Glencore Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. retreating more than 2%.
Federal Reserve policymakers opened up the option of lifting short-term interest rates at their next meeting in June, even as many cautioned that a number of economic hurdles lie in the way of another rise. Minutes from the central bank’s April rate-setting meeting showed that most policymakers believed a rise would be “appropriate” at the June meeting if the economic data and job market conditions continue to strengthen as inflation heads towards the 2% target.
The Bank of Japan must drastically lower its presence in the nation’s stock market if it wants to preserve the ability to one day unwind its massive position, according to the Democratic Party’s Tsutomu Okubo, a former vice finance minister.