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Global stocks head lower ahead of Jackson Hole summit

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·2-min read
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US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, July 15, 2021. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
Jerome Powell's comments at the Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers should give a read on future plans. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Investors were erring on the side of caution on Thursday in London, as stocks and US stocks were mixed ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium which runs from later on Thursday and Friday. 

The meeting of the world's central bankers should give investors a read on policy going forward, and attitudes to the economy in light of COVID-19 Delta variant caseloads. 

Inequality, recovery from the pandemic and climate change will also be in focus. 

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was 0.7% lower at the open before trading around 0.4% lower by the close. Germany's DAX (^GDAXI) also declined 0.4% and the CAC (^FCHI) headed 0.3% lower. 

Watch: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?

"Despite the fact that many are anticipating remarks by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell on [tapering stimulus], it is very unlikely that he will make any market-moving declarations at this meeting," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade. 

"Because of the recent softening in economic growth, the Fed has already indicated that it may begin tapering before the end of 2021. Having said that, investors should anticipate a cautious tone from policymakers at this meeting."

US stocks were lower by the close in London, with the S&P 500 (^GSPC) down 0.3%, the Dow (^DJI) 0.1% below its opening levels and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) down 0.1%. 

Read more: ‘Acute’ shortage of UK homes expected to run until 2022

In Asia, the Nikkei (^N225), Hang Seng (^HSI) and SSE Composite (000001.SS) all wavered overnight. The Nikkei was almost flat, while Hong Kong's main index fell 1.7% and the SSE composite was down 1.1%. 

The moves lower came following a rate cut by South Korea's central bank. 

"South Korea is the first developed country to embark on the unavoidable tightening of monetary policy," said Aslam. 

"The Bank of Korea's policy rate has risen by 25 basis points to 0.75%. The likely cause of the hawks taking control is the worsening of the economy as a result of a ramp up in coronavirus cases."

Watch: What is inflation and why is it important?

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