As Fed Fallout Fades, Stocks Left Hanging near Highs

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Stocks were stranded just below record highs on Friday, with investors left looking for direction after digesting the U.S. Federal Reserves more hawkish stance.

The panEuropean STOXX index of shares eased 0.19 to 458.50 points, barely below Mondays record high of 460.51.

I would not expect too much of a change, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said of the market.

What has the Fed said that is particularly upsetting in terms of the outlook for interest rates and monetary policy? We are still talking 18 months time. It suggests the economy is improving and that is a good thing, Hewson said.

The MSCI world equity index was off 0.13 at 713.97 points after hitting a record high of 722.32 on Tuesday, while Paris and Frankfurt were little changed.

Stocks in London fell 0.4 after data showed British retail sales fell unexpectedly last month as a lifting of lockdown restrictions encouraged spending in restaurants rather than shops, with Tesco down 1.8.

Britains biggest retailer reported a sharp slowdown in underlying UK sales growth in its first quarter, reflecting a tough comparison with the same quarter last year when consumers stocked up in the countrys first COVID19 lockdown.

The dollar was heading for its best week in nearly nine months as investors priced in a soonerthanexpected ending to extraordinary U.S. monetary stimulus.

Strength in the greenback pushed oil lower for a second straight session, while spot gold remained down around 5 for the…

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