* Sterling rises for first time in five days
* European shares dip, Ericsson shares dive
* US stock futures touch lower
* Minutes from Fed September meeting due later
* Oil prices edge up, dollar rallies
By Dhara Ranasinghe
LONDON, Oct 12 Shares fell worldwide towards
three-week lows on Wednesday after a dour start to the U.S.
earnings season, while Britain's battered currency rose for the
first time in five days.
Sterling rose more than 1 percent against the dollar and
euro after British Prime Minister Theresa May
offered to allow lawmakers some scrutiny of the process of
leaving the European Union, although she ruled out a vote in
parliament on whether to trigger the formal Brexit procedure
The pound has taken a beating, tumbling to 31-year lows last
week, on fears that Britain is heading for a "hard Brexit" that
would see it leave the EU single market when it quits the bloc.
Expectations that U.S. interest rates will rise in December
remained in focus with the minutes of the Federal Reserve's
September meeting due for release later in the day.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a
basket of six major currencies, hit a seven-month high of 97.817
, its highest since early March.
U.S. stock futures dropped. Wall Street shares fell
on Tuesday following disappointing earnings reports from
aluminum producer Alcoa and diagnostics test maker
"The primary concern for U.S. investors now is that we're
going to get another disappointing earnings season," said
Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.
"The strong dollar is going to impact that more and if the
Fed does raise rates, then ultimately, what does that mean for
profits in 2017?"
In Europe, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and
Britain's FTSE all nudged into negative territory.
Sweden's Ericsson led the region's technology
stocks to a one month-low, after the company warned that a
downturn in its mobile broadband business had accelerated and
its third-quarter profit would be "significantly lower" than
expected. Its shares slumped more than 15 percent.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
fell to three-week lows, leaving shares
hovering near three-week lows touched on Tuesday.
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With focus turning to the release of the Fed's latest
minutes and prospects for a December rate rise, the 10-year U.S.
Treasury yield rose to 1.787 percent, its highest
The euro fell to an 11-week low of around $1.1010 against a
firmer dollar. The dollar also gained against the yen
Investors are increasingly convinced the Fed will raise
interest rates in December, after avoiding an increase at its
next meeting, scheduled for less than a week before the U.S.
U.S. interest rate futures <0#FF:> are pricing in about a 75
percent chance rates will rise by December, little changed over
the past couple of days.
"Current sentiment is such that markets will look at the
minutes for a reason not to expect a rate hike in December,"
Hermes group chief economist Neil Williams said.
Concerns about higher U.S. rates and dollar strength helped
push MSCI's emerging equity index to nearly two-week
Elsewhere, oil prices rose, drawing support from record
Indian crude imports and upcoming talks between OPEC producers
and other oil exporters on curbing output to end a glut in the
global market. Brent crude futures were up 26 cents at
$52.67 a barrel.
(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Anirban Nag
in London; Editing by Larry King)