* Stocks ease as BoE minutes raise specter of rate hike
* Fed minutes show no sign of change in rate policy
* Euro below $1.33 for first time in nearly a year
(Adds oil settlement)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Aug 20 Global equity markets eased on
Wednesday on a few poor corporate results and the release of
Bank of England minutes that hinted at an early interest rate
hike, but minutes from the Federal Reserve showed no desire to
bring forward plans to raise rates.
The Fed said it has been surprised by how quickly the U.S.
labor market is healing yet the recovery has to be more
convincing to change its view on when to increase rates.
Stocks on Wall Street rebounded after the release of the Fed
minutes, suggesting investors believe there will be no change in
monetary policy, while U.S. Treasuries prices fell.
"The Fed remains dovish. However, one eye is looking towards
improvements in labor markets. Potentially a rate increase might
come slightly sooner or the increases might come faster than
expected," said Putri Pascualy, credit strategist For Pacific
Alternative Asset Management Company, In Irving, California.
Wall Street pushed higher, but MSCI's all-country equity
index was 0.04 percent lower.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.78 points,
or 0.41 percent, to 16,988.37. The S&P 500 gained 5.71
points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,987.31 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 3.167 points, or 0.07 percent, to 4,530.681.
Earlier in Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of
leading European shares closed down 0.07 percent at 1,346.02.
A warning from brewer Carlsberg that profits
would fall this year due to deteriorating conditions in Russia
rattled European investors.
A cut in its full-year sales forecast by Lowe's Companies
also unnerved investors, though the world's No. 2 home
improvement products retailer also posted better-than-expected
Sterling and UK bond yields rose after the surprise tilt
toward higher British rates, while the U.S. dollar advanced to
its highest against the euro since last September.
The Fed minutes come ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's
widely anticipated address to the annual gathering of central
bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday.
With U.S. and global stock indexes trading close to all-time
highs, investors await a reaffirmation of the accommodative
monetary policies that have helped spur a global rally.
"The next leg up is going to come from what we hear on
Friday from Yellen," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market
strategist at Federated Investors in New York. "The market has
been a little bit on tenterhooks," he said.
The dollar broke through resistance at $1.3300 and last
November's high of $1.3295 per euro to trade as high as
$1.3275. It also climbed to a 4-1/2-month high against the yen.
It was last up 0.4 percent versus the euro at $1.3266.
U.S. crude oil rose more than $1 a barrel ahead of the
September contract's expiry on Wednesday and as crude stocks in
the United States posted a sharp fall, while Brent bounced off a
14-month low to reach $102.
Brent crude for delivery in October settled 72 cents
higher at $102.28 a barrel. The U.S. crude contract for
September delivery rose $1.59 to settle at $96.07.
U.S. Treasuries fell, with the benchmark 10-year note
down 6/32 in price to yield 2.4299 percent.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Jamie
McGeever in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish)