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European stock markets muted ahead of Fed rate decision

written by Bella Palmer
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The FTSE 100 was trading 0.1% down, while the CAC shed 0.1% in Paris, and the Frankfurt DAX  was 0.3% lower

European stock markets were muted most of Wednesday as UK house prices rose in January and traders awaited the latest interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve.

The FTSE 100 was trading 0.1% down by the end of the day in London, while the CAC shed 0.1% in Paris, sliding from its record high, and the Frankfurt DAX  was 0.3% lower.

Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades, said: Traders find themselves in a wait-and-see mode in anticipation of the Fed's rates announcement and subsequent press conference, both scheduled for later today.

While the consensus amongst analysts leans towards unchanged interest rates, uncertainties persist regarding the hints that may surface in the policy statement and during the press conference, he said.

It came as Nationwide's House Price Index showed there was a marginal improvement in the annual rate of house price growth in the UK, from -1.8% in December to -0.2% in January.

Prices rose 0.7% to an average of £257,656 as pressures on mortgage rates eased, after an optimistic shift in how investors view the BoE's potential interest rate path, the building society said.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: While a rapid rebound in activity or house prices in 2024 seems unlikely, the outlook is looking a little more positive.

In the US, markets were also in the red, with the Nasdaq 100  slipping back 1.4%, the S&P 500 0.8% lower by the time of the European close, and the Dow trading flat.

It came as private sector hiring in the US dropped more than expected this month. There were 107,000 added jobs in the private sector, as per data from payroll business ADP, a slowdown from a revised 158,000 in December.

Most of the job gains were in service-providing sectors including leisure and hospitality and trade, transport and utilities.`

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