Global Shares Mixed Ahead of Fed Decision on Rates

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares were mixed Wednesday as markets awaited a decision on interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

France's CAC 40 inched down less than 0.1% to 7,281.23 and Germany's DAX added 0.3% to 15,715.93.

Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.6% to 7,704.97 after the government reported inflation fell unexpectedly in August to its lowest level since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has led to sharp rises in energy and food costs.

The Office for National Statistics said the consumer prices index was up 6.7% in August from the year before, down from 6.8% in July.

U.S. futures were little changed, with contracts for both the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials up less than 0.1%.

The Fed began a meeting on interest rates Tuesday, with an announcement scheduled for later Wednesday.

Traders are split on whether the Fed may raise rates again this year, but they're largely expecting the Fed to begin cutting rates next year. Such cuts can act like steroids for financial markets, giving a lift to all kinds of investments.

Japan's central bank is due to wrap up a two-day policy setting meeting on Friday.

In Asian trading, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7% to finish at 33,023.78. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.5% to 7,163.30. South Korea's Kospi was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 2,559.74. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.6% to 17,885.60, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.5% to 3,108.57.

Trade data for Japan showed exports fell 0.8% last month from a year earlier, marking the second straight month of declines, as exports to China sank 11%. Japan's exports to the U.S. rose 5.1%, while exports to Europe surged 12.7%. By product category, auto exports zoomed 40.9%, while those of semiconductors rose 8.1%, according to Finance Ministry data.

"We think the weak recovery in China will continue to have a negative impact on exports for a while, but semiconductors seem like they are bottoming out from the down cycle," Robert Carnell, regional head of research Asia-Pacific at ING, said in a report.

He said the strong contribution to economic growth from exports in the April-July quarter was expected to weaken in this quarter.

In an update on the Chinese economy, officials in Beijing acknowledged challenges in boosting growth in the worlds No. 2 economy, but told reporters they were confident that a recovery was underway and that they had the capacity to ensure stability of financial markets.

Global markets have see-sawed for weeks on uncertainty about whether the Fed is done with its market-shaking hikes to interest rates. By pulling its main interest rate to the highest level in more than two decades, the Fed has helped inflation to cool from its peak last year but at the cost of hurting prices for investments and damaging some corners of the economy.

On Tuesday, the benchmark S&P 500 slipped 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3%. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.2%.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 92 cents to $90.28 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 28 cents to $91.20 on Tuesday. It has climbed roughly 13% this year as oil-producing countries curtailed production. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 91 cents to $93.43 per barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 148.14 Japanese yen from 147.81 yen. The euro cost $1.0693, up from $1.0681.