December 16, 2008

Global markets mixed Tuesday

World markets were mixed Tuesday in anticipation of an afternoon announcement on the U.S. Federal Reserve fund rate.

The federal fund rate, used by banks to loan each other money overnight, is at 1 percent, but many expect the Fed will lower rates, perhaps to a record low.

The impact is under debate, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

We are paddling in shallow water and the cut is more symbolic than anything else, said Justin Urquhart Stewart at Seven Investment Management.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.1 percent, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong climbed modestly, up 0.6 percent.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange rose 0.5 percent, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney dropped 1 percent.

In Europe, stocks were mostly ahead. The DJStoxx 600 rose 0.5 percent, while the CAC 40 in Paris was up 1 percent. London's FTSE 100 was ahead 0.6 percent, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt, Germany gained 0.57 percent.