Fed moves; Busy Britain; Greece deal?
1. Fed moves: The U.S. Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday.Posted — Updated
1. Fed moves: The U.S. Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday.
The third rate hike since December indicates that the central bank believes the U.S. economy is on solid ground. The Fed upgraded its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year and said the labor market would improve.
Fed officials also said they plan to start selling off assets bought during and after the financial crisis. The central bank said that sales would begin later this year starting with roughly $10 billion a month in mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries.
The Fed could change course if the economy stumbles or if Congress delays raising the debt ceiling.
2. Busy Britain: Investors will have three key U.K. events to digest on Thursday.
Retail sales data showed that British consumers are feeling the pinch from higher prices and weaker wage growth. The quantity of goods purchased fell by 1.2% in May, compared with April.
It's the latest sign of economic weakness ahead of the official start of Brexit negotiations.
"The squeeze on the U.K. consumer from weak real wages will only filter through slowly but it is coming," Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes said before the report's release.
The Bank of England will announce its latest interest rate decision later on Thursday. The bank is not expected to change rates, despite surging prices, but investors will be paying close attention when Governor Mark Carney gives a speech to finance chiefs at 4 p.m. ET.
Treasury chief Philip Hammond will round out a busy news day with a speech at the same event. Media reports suggest the chancellor may use the annual Mansion House address to argue for maintaining closer ties with the European Union after Brexit to soften the blow to the economy.
3. Greece deal: Eurozone finance ministers are expected to strike a deal Thursday that should unlock new loans needed by Athens to meet debt repayments falling due next month.
But they may still struggle to agree with the International Monetary Fund whether Greece should receive debt relief.
4. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures were lower on Thursday.
European markets declined in early trading, but losses were limited to less than 1%. Most Asian markets closed lower, but the benchmark Shanghai Composite bucked the trend to gain 0.1%.
Crude oil prices continued to show weakness, sliding 0.5% to trade near $44.50.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.2% on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 lost 0.1% and the Nasdaq shed 0.4%.
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5. Stock market movers: Tesla stock was up by about 1% in premarket trade. Shares of Elon Musk's electric car company are up more than 75% so far this year.
6. Earnings and economics: Bob Evans and Kroger will publish results before the opening bell. Cherokee will follow after the close.
The U.S. will publish initial jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. A report on industrial production will follow at 9:15 a.m.
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7. Coming this week:
Thursday -- U.S. initial jobless claims; Bank of England rate decision; Cherokee earningsFriday -- U.S. housing market data; University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index
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