Global stocks decline ahead of US Federal Reserve meeting

Gold prices gain some ground on softer dollar

Apple Weighs on Nasdaq Futures as FOMC Awaited: Markets Wrap

Asian stocks followed global indexes higher on Wednesday, as strong earnings and manufacturing data boosted risk appetite, while expectations that the Federal Reserve will signal a June rate increase later in the session lifted the dollar.

Both contracts hit their lowest levels since late March the previous day.

Some investors see vehicle sales as an important indicator of how much consumers are willing to spend overall, and stocks struggled a month ago following a weak round of March auto sales reports. Thomson Reuters data shows first-quarter growth is now expected to be 14.2 percent, the best quarter since 2011, with 357 of S&P 500 companies having reported.

Futures traders are now pricing in a 72 percent chance of a June rate hike, from 63 percent before the Fed's statement, according to the CME Group's FedWatch Tool.

"It suggests that the trend of improving growth is likely still intact, and as a result it means that we'll probably see a Fed rate hike in June and probably again in September". That sent bank stocks higher, which narrowed the market's losses. Its guidance also wasn't as strong as investors hoped.

The six largest auto makers in the USA all said their sales fell in April. "The economy isn't quite as weak as that GDP (report) makes it look".

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The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 percent to 2,389.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced a hair to 6,092.00.

The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.0892 EUR=, regaining a bit of ground after falling 0.4 percent on Wednesday and edging away from a 5-1/2 month high of $1.0951 set last week. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks sank 6 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,400.

The dollar index .DXY , which tracks the greenback against a basket of trade-weighted peers, slipped 0.1 percent on Wednesday after earlier climbing as much as 0.25 percent.

GOOD GRADE: Consumer reviews website Angie's List soared after it agreed to be bought by media company IAC/InterActive for about $505 million in cash and stock.

Benchmark 10-year notes fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.31 percent, up from 2.30 percent on Tuesday.

Apple fell 1.8 percent early Wednesday after iPhone sales weren't as high as investors expected. It fell as much as 2.2 percent early Wednesday, but finished down just 45 cents at $147.06. The stock fell 5.1 percent. Biotech drugmaker Gilead Sciences reported disappointing profit and revenue as sales of its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni plunged in all major markets, and its stock gave up $1.57, or 2.3 percent, to $67.02.

"The adverse impact of the fall in the pound was evident in the rise in the prices charged balance to its highest level since July 2008", said Scott Bowman, UK economist at Capital Economics. The deal values Angie's List at $8.50 a share, below the $8.75 IAC/InterActive offered when it tried to buy Angie's List in 2015.

The British FTSE 100 retreated 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 lost 0.1 percent. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 28 cents to $50.74 in London.

The dollar rose to 112.64 yen from 112 yen.

The euro drew some support from centre-left candidate Emmanuel Macron's performance in a TV debate ahead of Sunday's French presidential election run-off, cooling gains for the dollar to less than half a cent at $1.0876.

Hong Kong and South Korea are closed for the Buddha's birthday, and Japan is shut for the rest of the week for the Golden Week holiday.

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