The dollar is weakening against most of its peers on expectations the Federal Reserve has come to the end of its rate-hiking cycle / © AFP
Global stock markets gave up some recent gains Tuesday as investors awaited minutes from the US Federal Reserve's most recent meeting for a steer on interest rates in the world's biggest economy.
The Fed will later publish minutes from its November gathering, when policymakers held rates steady, and investors will analyse comments from officials.
Investors are becoming increasingly optimistic that the US central bank is finished hiking rates, with expectations growing that financial conditions will become easier in the new year as inflation comes down.
That has fanned a rush back into risk assets in recent weeks and also pushed the dollar down against most of its peers.
"Traders will scrutinise the minutes closely, hoping to find clues for the timing of the next Fed move, which is now widely assumed to be a cut," said ActivTrades senior analyst Ricardo Evangelista.
"Against this background, dovish minutes could bring forward the market's expectations for when the Fed will begin cutting rates and trigger further dollar weakness."
A drop in yields on US government bonds is a clear indication that the markets believe the Fed is done with rate hikes despite public comments by policymakers that work remains to be done to reduce inflation, said market analyst Patrick O'Hare at Briefing.com.
"It is unmistakable that the fed funds futures market has its mind made up, no matter what anyone says, that the Fed is done raising rates," he said.
Weak results from US retailers Best Buy and Lowe's ahead of the peak-demand Christmas shopping season were an indication that the Fed's efforts to slow the economy and inflation were working. Their shares were lower in late morning trading.
New York's three main indices were lower a day after the Nasdaq hit a 22-month high thanks to an advance in tech giants including Amazon, Microsoft and Nvidia.
Shares in Nvidia, which reports earnings after the market closes, slid in Tuesday trading after hitting a record of over $500.
Monday's rally was boosted by the successful sale of 20-year US Treasuries that sent yields on other notes lower. Talk is now growing that the Fed could cut borrowing costs as early as March, much earlier than previous bets on the second half of 2024.
In Europe, London and Paris both retreated somewhat while Frankfurt ended flat.
Asian markets started strongly Tuesday but ran out of gas as the day progressed.
Hong Kong dipped even after market heavyweight Alibaba jumped more than two percent to extend its rebound after diving 10 percent Friday on news it had cancelled the spinoff of its cloud computing arm.
Argentina's stock market reacted with optimism Tuesday to the resounding election win by libertarian Javier Milei, despite the country being gripped by uncertainty over what changes the self-described "anarcho-capitalist" will bring.
The rise was led by state oil company YPF whose shares rose 34 percent after the president-elect announced he would privatise it as part of his package of reforms.
World oil prices slid as traders awaited this Sunday's upcoming output meeting of OPEC+ crude-producing nations.
"The main question the market is asking is whether OPEC will cut production further in response to softening oil prices," noted Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Matt Sherwood.
"These have returned to the levels they were at before the Israel-Hamas war broke out in early October."
- Key figures around 1630 GMT -
New York - DOW: DOWN 0.3 percent at 35,058.84 points
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,481.99 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,229.45 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX: FLAT at 15,900.53 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 at 4,331.90 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.1 percent at 33,354.14 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.3 percent at 17,733.89 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 3,067.93 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0926 from $1.0940 on Monday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2530 from $1.2505
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 147.89 yen from 148.39 yen
Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.20 pence from 88.50 pence
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.7 percent at $81.78 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.7 percent at $77.27 per barrel