LONDON, (Pakistan Point News - APP -26th Augst,2016) : European stock markets mainly fell on Friday, as investors waited on a speech from Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen for clues over the outlook for US interest rates. Frankfurt and Paris held in negative territory, while Asian stocks wobbled ahead of the weekend. London equities flatlined as official data confirmed that the British economy grew by 0.6 percent in the second quarter, compared with the previous three months.
With few other catalysts this week, Yellen's speech Friday -- at the annual Jackson Hole symposium of global central bankers -- has hung over exchanges as traders hope for indications regarding the US economy and guidance on monetary policy. "The event we have been waiting for all week is finally upon us and all eyes will now be on Janet Yellen to see if she can deliver what investors so desperately crave: clarity on the near-term path of interest rates," said Craig Erlam, analyst at Oanda trading group.
"At the start of the year, the Fed expected to raise interest rates four times in 2016, something even at the time investors thought was quite far-fetched. "Eight months on and we're still awaiting the first of these and if it does come, even a second this year looks extremely unlikely." Speculation has grown that the bank could lift interest rates as early as next month, although most experts say that is unlikely and that December or February would be safer bets.
With an interest rate hike unlikely in the immediate future, the Dollar is struggling to gain traction. Traders prefer to invest or hold currencies in nations where interest rates are rising -- or expected to rise -- in the hope of increasing their potential returns. "Markets will most likely be looking at Yellen to provide some kind of guidance or insight into the likelihood of the Fed's potential policy tightening before the end of the year," said dealer Sam Budd at Currencies Direct. "Any signals that suggest policy tightening before then could help strengthen the dollar and give it a boost. "On the flip side, a cautious Yellen could lead to dollar pressure pointing towards a negative outlook as we head into the weekend."