Global market report - March 21

World market reaction to last night's Federal Reserve meeting was cautious, while investors await the Bank of England, US jobless claims and Canadian inflation

James Gard 21 March, 2019 | 6:00PM

North America


US stocks closed lower despite the Federal Reserve’s dovish tone on 2019 rate rises. The message of slowing growth, the reason behind the expected pause in interest rates this year, was uppermost in investors’ minds. The Fed’s economic growth forecast of 2% for 2019 is one percentage point below the US Government’s, and global events could still derail the domestic economy this year.

Early futures contracts suggest a fall on Wall Street at the open on Thursday.  Nike (NKE) is one of the biggest companies to report numbers today.

US weekly jobless claims and Canadian inflation figures are due today. Canada’s consumer price index is expected to have risen by 1.4% in February year on year, the same rise seen in January.




A weaker pound helped give the FTSE 100 an uplift this morning, pushing the index above 7,300 points, with miners leading the way. But retail sales data supported a minor recovery in sterling ahead of the Bank of England’s midday meeting.

Next (NXT) shares were under pressure after a fall in annual profits.

Eurozone exchanges caught the global mood of caution, with France’s CAC only just ahead approaching midday.



Markets in Asia took their cue from a cautious US equity reaction to the Federal Reserve’s latest guidance on interest rates and the global economy. Chinese markets moved higher but Hong Kong stocks slipped, following Wall Street’s lead.

Tencent (00700) shares fell after a sharp fall in profits in the most recent quarter.

Japanese inflation is expected to come in at 0.30% on a yearly basis for February.

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James Gard

James Gard  James Gard is subeditor for