* Global shares post cautious gains before Fed statement
* Dollar steadies against major currencies
* Oil holds around $106 a barrel, gold flat
* German Bunds firm as debt auction eyed
By Richard Hubbard
LONDON, June 19 European shares edged higher and
major currencies and commodities were little changed on
Wednesday as investors awaited clarity on the U.S. Federal
Reserve's next policy step.
Recent mixed data on the health of the U.S. economic
recovery is expected to encourage the Fed to leave its
ultra-loose policy unchanged, but markets are on alert for any
hints on when or how quickly it could wind back its bond buying.
"Our view is they are going to stick with $85 billion a
month (of bond buying) until the end of the year... There is a
lot of slack in the economy and there is no inflation pressure,"
said Ned Rumpeltin, head of G10 FX strategy at Standard
The U.S. central bank is due to make a statement at 1800 GMT
followed by a news conference with Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose
comments in May on the possibility of scaling back its stimulus
brought this year's market rally to a shuddering halt.
The dollar was a shade weaker against its Japanese
counterpart, down about 0.2 percent at 95.10 yen, and was
steady against the euro at $1.34 after the single
currency touched a four-month high on Tuesday.
Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up 0.2
percent in early trade, tracking gains on Wall Street and a rise
in Japanese stocks. The Nikkei index was boosted by data
showing Japan's exports rose in May at the fastest annual rate
in more than two years.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks
shares in 45 countries, was up 0.25 percent, with activity
expected to be limited ahead of the Fed statement.
"The Fed's tone will clearly influence the action. If
Bernanke indicates that tapering is quite a bit of distance off,
investors will feel relieved and equities can revisit their
recent highs," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas
Fortis Global Markets, said.
Bund futures were also little changed ahead of both news
from the Fed and a sale of 5 billion euros of new 10-year German
bonds later in the session.
In likewise cautious commodity markets, growth-linked metals
like copper, as well as safe-haven and inflation-linked
assets such as gold, were restricted to minor moves.
Brent crude held above $106 a barrel, near an
11-week high, as hopes for ongoing Fed stimulus underpinned