(Updates with U.S. markets, changes comment, dateline from
* Formal Brexit process begins
* U.S. crude up after data surprise
* Wall St little changed after posting gains Tuesday
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 29 Stocks edged up on Wall
Street on Wednesday, not enough to lift a global equities index,
while crude futures hit a week high after a
smaller-than-expected build in U.S. inventories.
The euro slipped after Reuters reported European Central
Bank policymakers are wary of making any new change to their
policy message in April.
Weighing on the euro and pound, Prime Minister Theresa May
formally began Britain's divorce from the European Union, a
decision pitching her country into the unknown. On
Tuesday, the Scottish Parliament backed a bid to hold an
independence referendum that could break up the UK, adding
another layer of uncertainty for investors.
Gains in the energy sector, up more than 1 percent,
kept the S&P 500 afloat, while none of the other ten sectors
moved more than a half a percent up or down.
Wall Street rose on Tuesday, with the Dow snapping an
eight-day losing streak after a jump in consumer data boosted
hopes in a stronger U.S. economy. On Wednesday, contracts to buy
previously owned U.S. homes jumped to a 10-month high in
"The big talk of the day is (Britain's) official request to
leave the EU, which we think is likely to be a counter balance
for the markets for many days to come," wrote in a note Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in
"We see (U.S.) oil prices moving towards the $50 range as
being the markets driving force of the day."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 67.89 points,
or 0.33 percent, to 20,633.61, the S&P 500 lost 1.65
points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,356.92 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 5.01 points, or 0.09 percent, to 5,880.15.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.35
percent, while MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe
fell 0.19 percent.
Emerging market stocks rose 0.09 percent.
Overnight, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan rose 0.42 percent while Japan's
Nikkei closed up less than 0.1 percent.
GREENBACK GAINS FURTHER
The dollar index gained 0.37 percent with the euro
down 0.55 percent to $1.0752.
Sterling hit a one-week low of 1.2378 earlier, and
was last trading at $1.2407, down 0.33 percent.
"Sterling will be incredibly sensitive to (Brexit)
negotiations and will offer a clear gauge of how things are
panning out. We could see it move lower still if negotiations
take a sour turn - $1.10 is feasible," said Neil Wilson, senior
markets analyst at ETX Capital.
Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields fell. The 10-year U.S.
Treasury yield hit a session high at 2.427 percent, higher than
Tuesday's. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in
price to yield 2.3891 percent.
Oil prices rose after U.S. gasoline stockpiles dropped
sharply last week, while crude inventories grew less than
U.S. crude last rose 1.9 percent to $49.28 a barrel
and Brent traded at $52.23, up 1.8 percent on the day.
Spot gold rose 0.0 percent to $1,251.59 an ounce.
U.S. gold futures fell 0.3 percent to $1,251.30 an
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Additional reporting by Dion
Rabouin, David Gaffen and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by