September 19, 2017 / 3:25 PM / a year ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks inch up, dollar weakens as Fed focus grows

* U.S. stocks up slightly in early New York trading

* Trump at U.N. says U.S. may have to 'totally destroy' N. Korea

* Fed seen announcing plans to unwind debt portfolio

* Crude futures decline (Updates with early U.S. market activity; changes dateline, previous LONDON)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Global stock markets edged higher on Tuesday and the dollar dipped as investors waited for signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve on when it will hike interest rates again and start shrinking its balance sheet.

Wall Street stocks gained slightly, with the Dow climbing to a fresh record after the open, while an index of stocks across the globe also inched higher. Tokyo's Nikkei surged 2 percent overnight. Elsewhere, stocks took a breather.

The U.S. central bank, which begins its two-day meeting on Tuesday, is widely expected to announce on Wednesday that it will begin paring its bond holdings, with reductions likely to start in the coming months.

Investors will also be watching for signals that the Fed will raise rates in December, and for any clues on personnel changes as the end of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term approaches and after the resignation of Vice Chair Stanley Fischer earlier this month.

"If I'd be watching anything, it would be primarily with regard to their plans to raise rates in December, which now the market has a 50-50 odds on," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

In a speech at the United Nations, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that the United States will be forced to "totally destroy" North Korea unless Pyongyang backs down from its nuclear challenge.

The dollar index fell 0.12 percent.

The dollar had stayed weak following U.S. data showing domestic home construction fell for a second straight month in August, rekindling some concerns about the U.S. housing sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.82 points, or 0.12 percent, to 22,358.17, the S&P 500 gained 0.89 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,504.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.33 points, or 0.01 percent, to 6,454.97.

The S&P 500 and Dow had both hit new peaks on Monday despite some late pressure on big tech stocks.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.08 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.15 percent.

In the U.S. bond market, prices were little changed. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 2/32 in price to yield 2.2375 percent, from 2.23 percent late on Monday.

In commodity markets, oil prices edged lower. U.S. crude fell 0.2 percent to $49.81 per barrel and Brent was last at $55.11, down 0.25 percent on the day.

Additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Marc Jones and John Geddie in London; Editing by Catherine Evans and Dan Grebler

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