By Will Horner
-- European stocks slip, Asian indexes pause
-- U.S. dollar broadly flat
-- Oil prices jump on inventory data, U.S.-Iran tensions
Global stocks slipped Wednesday after comments from Federal Reserve officials dampened hopes the central bank would move quickly to ease monetary policy.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.2% in morning trade, putting it on course for a fourth consecutive day of losses. Asian indexes were mixed, as investors have grown more pessimistic this week about U.S. monetary policy and the trade spat between Washington and Beijing.
Oil markets rallied as the rhetoric between Iran and the U.S. grew more confrontational and after data from an industry group late Tuesday showed U.S. crude stockpiles had fallen by more than expected. Global benchmark brent crude oil jumped 1.1% to $64.97 Wednesday, while U.S. benchmark crude climbed 1.7% to $58.83 a barrel.
On Tuesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell defended the central bank's independence, pushing back against signals from financial markets and calls from President Trump to lower interest rates. Mr. Powell said officials would ease monetary policy only if data showed a sustained downward trend in the U.S. economy.
"It's quite clear who that message was intended for but it's actually investors that it seems to have struck a nerve with," said Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at OANDA. "The impression that investors have got over the last week is that the Fed is prepared to cut rates and will start in July but these comments have thrown a spanner in the works."
U.S. stocks weakened Tuesday after Mr. Powell's comments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.7%, its biggest decline since May, while the S&P 500 fell 1%.
Futures for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat Wednesday, while Nasdaq-100 futures were 0.1% higher. The contracts don't necessarily predict moves after the opening bell.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note continued to hover around 2%, having fallen below that level for the first time since 2016 last week. Bond yields fall as prices rise. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the currency against a basket of others, was flat.
In commodities, a four-day rally in gold prices that had propelled the precious metal to its highest level since 2013 halted. Gold fell Wednesday 0.8% to $1,412.08 a troy ounce.
Asian markets were slightly lower or close to flat, reflecting unease that a meeting between Mr. Trump and China's President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Japan this week might not produce a breakthrough on the long-running trade dispute. Japan's Nikkei saw the largest decline, falling 0.5%.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 26, 2019 05:31 ET (09:31 GMT)
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