Investors have been rattled by China's latest crackdown on various industries, with concerns about what other sectors are in the firing line

London (AFP) - US and European stock markets rose Wednesday as investors cautiously awaited a key Federal Reserve interest rate decision and digested a raft of earnings.

Wall Street opened higher, with the Dow inching up less than 0.1 percent.

London shares added 0.2 percent in afternoon deals, with Barclays soaring 3.4 percent on news of surging first-half profit at the UK bank.

Frankfurt also won 0.3 percent and Paris jumped 0.8 percent.

Madrid added 0.6 percent but Santander stock shed 2.3 percent despite the Spanish lender revealing that it rebounded into bumper quarterly profit.

The Fed’s monetary policy meeting ends later Wednesday and will be closely watched for any guidance on its plans in light of the economic recovery, reopening and spread of the Delta coronavirus variant that has sent infections spiking.

“All eyes will be on the US Federal Reserve,” said AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson.

“As always, investors will want to know the central bank’s latest view on the outlook for the US economy and whether it is time to tinker with policy support measures.

“The spread of the Delta virus variant in recent weeks and months could give the Fed reason to make no changes to its policy, but any sign of taking a more forward-looking view and wanting to taper bond purchases could cause ripples across global markets.”

Investors were underwhelmed by better-than-expected earnings from US tech titans Apple, Google-parent Alphabet and Microsoft.

Apple’s third-quarter profit rose to $21.7 billion on growth in iPhone sales and its increasingly important digital services.

Revenue surged 36 percent from a year ago to $81.4 billion, the best ever for the tech titan’s fiscal third quarter.

“The problem with being the best is you risk becoming a victim of your own success,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates.

“That’s what we’ve seen from the reaction to Apple’s results, where despite an exceptional performance, the market’s response has been somewhat muted.”

Asian markets mostly fell again on Wednesday as fears over China’s regulatory crackdown continued to reverberate around trading floors, following losses on Wall Street.

Hong Kong and Shanghai were in focus after suffering a diabolical previous three days in the wake of Beijing unveiling a series of measures aimed at curbing a range of industries – including tech and private tuition – that have raised fears of further action.

Hong Kong rose more than one percent having oscillated wildly but it made only a small dent in the more than nine percent drop suffered over the previous three days.

Bitcoin sat around $39,500 following a recent rally that has helped it briefly break $40,000, helped by renewed support from tycoon Elon Musk and other investors, with some analysts saying it could test $45,000 again soon.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,007.91 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 15,566.12

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 6,586.61

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 4,093.57

New York - Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 35,074.27

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.4 percent at 27,581.66 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.5 percent at 25,473.88 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,361.59 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1794 from $1.1817 at 2100 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.08 pence from 85.41 pence

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3865 from $1.3879

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.18 yen from 109.78 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.4 percent at $74.81 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $72.06 per barrel

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