European stocks track Wall Street higher ahead of Fed

The data comes as the Bank of England ends its own policy meeting Thursday and will put pressure on the policy board to raise rates within its two percent target.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 2.43 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,437.92. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4 percent to 21,328.47. After a late tumble in technology stocks, the Nasdaq composite lost 0.4 percent, to 6,194.89.

Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market.

Dow e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.09 percent, with 5,332 contracts changing hands. That suggests investors are anxious about the economy, which could have an outsize effect on smaller, domestically-focused companies.

It fell $1.73, or 3.7 percent, to settle at $44.73 a barrel in NY.

But Yellen's apparent optimism that the economy is continuing to strengthen was over-shadowed by surprisingly weak U.S. economic data released before the rate announcement which showed USA consumer prices unexpectedly falling in May and United States retail sales dropping 0.3 per cent last month - the largest fall since January 2016 and way below economists' expectations for a 0.1 per cent gain. The result was a surprise to analysts, who expected sales to grow. Video game seller GameStop gave up 63 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $21.35 and department store chain Kohl's dropped 87 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $37.17. Heating oil lost 4 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $1.41 a gallon.

In a separate report, the Labour Department said consumer prices slipped, partly because of lower energy prices. That's one reason there has been little inflation in the economy lately, a continued concern for Federal Reserve policymakers.

REACTION: Bond prices jumped and yields fell to their lowest level since November. Concerned about weak growth, investors bought bonds and high-yield stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.13% from 2.21%. Cereal maker General Mills rose $1.09, or 1.9 percent, to $59.26 and PepsiCo advanced $1.55, or 1.3 percent, to $117.87.

Banks fell. The drop in bond yields sent interest rates lower, which reduces the profits banks can make from mortgages and other loans.

COMMODITIES: Oil futures plunged after the USA government said oil supplies shrank slightly last week and gasoline stockpiles grew.

ENERGY: Oil futures plunged overnight after the US government said oil supplies shrank only slightly last week while gasoline stockpiles grew.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 46 cents to $46.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, shed 1.72 dollars, or 3.5%, to close at 47 dollars a barrel in London. Senior Correspondent Mike Causey tells you what you need to know before you go.

Exxon Mobil lost $1.18, or 1.4 percent, to $81.78 and Halliburton sank $1.30, or 2.8 percent, to $44.54.

European shares gained Wednesday following Wall Street's tech-driven rise and as investors positioned for an anticipated rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve. That would be the third increase since December.

The dollar moved in a tight range against the yen in Asia ahead of the Fed announcement. The euro edged up to $1.1220 from $1.1212. Growth in investment in factories, real estate and other fixed assets decelerated to 8.6 percent over a year earlier in the first five months of 2017, down 0.3 percentage points from the rate in January-April. For years investors have been hoping growth will hit a faster pace.

  • Zachary Reyes