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Thu. 8:47 a.m.: Global stocks subdued as investors seek more clues on Fed

A currency trader walks near screens showing the foreign exchange rates at the foreign exchange dealing room today in Seoul, South Korea. Asian stock markets are mixed today following Wall Street’s rebound as investors looked ahead to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman for clues about possible interest rate cuts. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets were subdued today following Wall Street’s rebound as investors looked ahead to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman for clues about possible interest rate cuts.

Investor reaction was muted following Wednesday’s release of notes from the latest Fed meeting showing conflicting opinions about rates.

Benchmarks in London and Paris declined in early trading. Hong Kong closed down while Shanghai and Tokyo advanced.

Investors are looking to Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech on Friday for guidance about whether the Fed might cut rates at its next meeting in September. The Fed cut its key policy rate on July 31 for the first time in more than a decade, citing President Donald Trump’s tariff battle with Beijing and other possible threats to economic growth.

Markets have a “high degree of policy uncertainty” ahead of Powell’s speech and U.S.-China trade talks in September, said Stephen Innes, analyst at trading platform Oanda.

Mixed views on rates among Fed leaders are “well documented,” but the notes are a “reminder of how challenging it could be for Chair Powell to meet the market’s exceedingly dovish expectations,” said Innes.

London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.5 percent to 7,169 and Frankfurt’s DAX edged up 0.1 percent to 11,811. France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.3 percent to 5,421.

On Wall Street, futures for both the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Average were flat.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 2,883.44 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.9 percent to 26,046.47.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was 0.1 percent higher at 20,612.17. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 6,501.08 and India’s Sensex shed 0.5 percent to 36868.14. Seoul’s Kospi declined 0.7 percent to 1,951.01.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent while the Dow and the Nasdaq composite added 0.9 percent.

Traders see strong quarterly results from retailers as a sign of health among consumers who account for 70 percent of U.S. economic growth. But uncertainty remains high around the world, particularly as the U.S.-China trade war is slowing the global economy and questions remain about how soon that could start to affect other sectors like services or consumer spending.

The Trump administration has imposed a 25 percent tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports. A pending 10 percent tariff on another $300 billion in goods would hit everything from toys to clothing and shoes that China ships to the United States. But 60 percent of the new tariffs wouldn’t go into effect until mid-December, and others were taken off the table altogether.

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