July 17 - Global shares and the euro edged up on Tuesday as investors speculated that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would hint at more monetary stimulus later in the day. Jamie McGeever reports.
The shadow of U.S. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke loomed large over European markets today, limiting the scope for big moves. European stocks edged higher in anticipation he would open the door to further stimulus to revive the flagging U.S. - and global - economy. The FTSE Eurofirst did its best to extend its remarkable run of late - despite all the negative headlines, stocks are on 6-week winning streak. But UK stocks struggled more, losing around a third of one percent after mining giant Rio Tinto reported weak sales figures. But as Stefan Scharffetter said from Baader Bank it was all about Bernanke. SOUNDBITE: Stefan Scharffetter, Trader for Baader Bank, saying (English): "A lot will depend on how the Fed, or Bernanke, sums up the current state of the economy in the U.S. and what eventual actions the Fed will take to bolster the U.S. economy. Whatever the outcome of the session we will have to deal with the consequences here tomorrow. I think that if more monetary stimulus is provided by the Federal Reserve Bank then the German market will stay stable." On the troubled euro zone bond markets, Spain's borrowing costs threatened to go back above the key 7 percent mark, but ended up lower on the day. That was after an auction of short-term government debt drew solid investor demand. And the euro held its ground against the dollar, averting a dip back towards the two-year low below $1.22 struck late last week. Jamie McGeever, Reuters