Global Stocks Mixed Ahead of Fed Talk

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday after Wall Street rose to a record as investors looked ahead to this week's Federal Reserve meeting for assurance that U.S. interest rates will be kept ultra-low.

Tokyo and Frankfurt declined while Shanghai advanced and London was little-changed.

Wall Street futures were higher after the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.2% on Monday as gains for tech, bank and consumer stocks outweighed declines in health care shares.

The Fed starts a two-day policy meeting Tuesday. Investors expect the U.S. central bank to keep its key lending rate close to zero and inject more money into the financial system through bond purchases.

Investors expect U.S. corporate results due out this week to show stronger profits as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out and consumer spending strengthens. Quarterly profits among companies in the S&P 500 are expected to be up 24% from this time a year ago, according to a survey by FactSet.

The Fed's announcement Wednesday “should be boring, as policymakers are widely expected to keep policy steady,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.

Investor confidence has increased as governments roll out coronavirus vaccines they hope will allow business activity to return to normal. That has been tempered by unease about possible higher inflation and interest rates.

In early trading, the DAX in Frankfurt sank 0.2% to 15,272.83 while the FTSE in London was down less than 0.1% at 6,958.92. The CAC 40 in Paris gained less than 0.1% to 6,276.87.

On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.2%.

On Monday, the S&P 500 advanced 0.2% and the Nasdaq gained 0.9%. The Dow slipped 0.2%.

About a quarter of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results so far this earnings season. Of these, 84% have delivered earnings that topped Wall Street's estimates, according to FactSet.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed less than 0.1% higher at 3,442.61 after spending most the day in negative territory. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost less than 0.1% to 28,941.54.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.5% to 28,991.89 after the Bank of Japan, as expected, left interest rates and other policy settings unchanged. The central bank forecast inflation will be below its 2% target through 2023, indicating policy will stay loose.

The Kospi in Seoul declined less than 0.1% to 3,215.42 after the government reported economic output rebounded to above pre-pandemic levels in the three months ending in March. Growth accelerated to 1.6% over the previous quarter.

The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney fell 0.2% to 7,033.80 while India's Sensex gained 0.9% to 48,828.64. New Zealand and Jakarta declined while Singapore and Bangkok advanced.

Also Wednesday, markets will focus on President Joe Biden's prime-time address to Congress for possible details of infrastructure spending and tax reform.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 67 cents to $62.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 23 cents to $61.91 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 66 cents to $65.69 per barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 108.36 yen from Monday's 108.12. The euro declined to $1.2062 from $1.2092.