US Federal Reserve cuts interest rates by a quarter point

5) Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot in talks over mega-motor-merger: The deal would create Europe’s second-biggest car company after VW group, with talks about a potential combination first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

What happened overnight

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Wednesday, with markets in a holding pattern awaiting the Federal Reserve’s policy decision. 

Share gauges in Tokyo ended little changed, while equities retreated in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney. European and American stock futures were flat. The S&P 500 Index on Tuesday edged back from a record high amid a raft of earnings in a lackluster session. The pound was little changed after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson won backing in Parliament for a December 12 election.

The Fed is widely expected to lower rates again Wednesday, having already cut in July and September. For markets, the key will be the tone of Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference later in the day, with investors trying to ascertain the trajectory of policy heading into next year.

Coming up today

There are two big stories expected today, with GlaxoSmithKline, the pharma firm, posting interim results, and Next, the retailer, a trading statement. Happily, both have tended to be solid performers recently, with Glaxo seeing demand for new drugs make up for losing exclusivity to some of its older products. Next, meanwhile, has had a fairly solid year despite wider wobbles and worries on the high street.

Interim results: GlaxoSmithKline, LivaNova, Noble Corporation, nVent Electric

Trading statement: Computacenter, ConvaTec, Next 

Economics: Business confidence (eurozone), employment (US)

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