* Dollar dips ahead of Fed decision
* Oil prices snap out of six-day slide
* European focus also on Dutch elections
(Updates with morning U.S. trading, changes byline, dateline,
By Lewis Krauskopf
NEW YORK, March 15 Financial markets braced for
what was expected to be a U.S. interest rate hike later on
Wednesday as a gauge of global stocks edged higher and the
dollar dipped, while oil pulled out of a six-session slide.
The U.S. Federal Reserve was due to release it policy
statement at 2 pm EDT (1800 GMT), with the central bank widely
expected to raise interest rates for the second time in three
Market participants will be watching for whether the Fed
will signal an even faster pace of monetary tightening this year
than the three rate hikes it projected in December.
"The 25-basis point-hike is fully priced in, so that's not
even going to be a factor ... it's more what the Fed's path is
going to be going forward," said Societe Generale currency
strategist Alvin Tan in London.
MSCI's all-country world stock index gained
On Wall Street, major equity indexes rose, with the energy
sector rising 1.2 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44.47 points,
or 0.21 percent, to 20,881.84, the S&P 500 gained 7.32
points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,372.77 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 8.39 points, or 0.14 percent, to 5,865.21.
Investors were also assessing data on U.S. retail sales,
which registered their smallest increase in six months in
The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.4
percent, helped by energy and basic resource stocks
Shares of aircraft seats maker Zodiac Aerospace
tumbled 16 percent after a profit warning.
The focus in Europe also was on Dutch elections, where
anti-EU firebrand candidate Geert Wilders is providing the
latest test of anti-establishment and anti-EU sentiment.
It also comes ahead of votes later this year in
France and Germany.
"The repercussions for France are the key aspect of this
election, and if we see that the populists are keeping their
momentum that will be reflected in French government bonds," DZ
bank strategist Christian Lenk said.
Attention was also turning to Friday's G20 meeting in the
German spa town of Baden-Baden, the first attended by U.S.
President Donald Trump's economic team.
Oil prices were lifted by a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude
inventories and data from the International Energy Agency
suggesting OPEC cuts should create a crude deficit in the first
half of 2017.
U.S. crude rose 1.9 percent to $48.64 a barrel, after
touching a three-month low a day earlier, while benchmark Brent
gained 1.8 percent to $51.82 a barrel.
The dollar fell 0.2 percent against a basket of key
currencies ahead of the Fed decision. The euro edged up
The U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened, with two-year
yields touching their highest since mid-2009 and long-dated
yields falling, as investors braced for a rate increase and the
potential for a more aggressive pace of future tightening.
Prices on benchmark 10-year Treasuries rose 2/32
to yield 2.589 percent, from 2.595 percent late on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Sam Forgione in New York, Marc Jones
and Ritvik Carvalho in London, Editing by Jeremy Gaunt; Editing
by Nick Zieminski)