Pressure on the Fed to raise rates may be lessening after the midterm vote in the US

London (AFP) - A stock markets rally waned Thursday, with eurozone shares treading water as the European Union warned of slowing growth across the single currency bloc.

London outperformed on hopes that a Brexit deal would soon be announced, dealers said.

Wall Street was steady shortly after the opening bell in New York after the excitement of the US mid-term elections faded.

“The post-election bounce was strong (for stocks) but short-lived,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda trading group.

The dollar recovered from Wednesday’s selloff in the wake of the US elections and as traders awaited the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting later Thursday.

With little chance of the Fed changing rates at the meeting, investors will be looking for clues regarding the pace of future hikes – an outlook clouded by Tuesday’s election outcome.

The result – which saw the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives and President Donald Trump’s Republican party widening its majority in the Senate – could mean less pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise US interest rates more aggressively, taking some heat out of the dollar, according to analysts.

While the vote was broadly in line with forecasts, the outcome means Trump faces a tough two years before his 2020 re-election bid, with Democrats appearing ready to fight against his tax-cutting, deregulation agenda while boosting oversight of the president’s administration.

The EU raised red flags on growth prospects

In Europe meanwhile, the EU on Thursday said growth in the eurozone would slow in 2019 and beyond, citing global uncertainty and heightened trade tensions.

The European Commission warned also that Italy’s deficit would balloon in 2019 owing to a spending boost planned by Rome’s populist government that blatantly defies the EU over bloc rules on expenditure.

Elsewhere, oil prices were subdued after data showing a surge in US energy stockpiles, although there was some support from reports OPEC may reduce output next year.

The cartel had started opening the taps again this year after a long-running cap agreement with Russia, which boosted prices, ended.

But with production now rising globally again – and the Iran sanctions seemingly having little impact owing to US waivers – Bloomberg News said ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi this weekend were considering a reduction.

“Saudi Arabia and Russia have increased production, and prices have come down $15 a barrel,” Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s representative to the OPEC, said. “They have over-balanced the market” and have no choice but to cut about one million barrels a day.

- Key figures around 1440 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.7 percent at 7,167.78 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: FLAT at 11,583.12

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,145.53

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,248.55

New York - Dow: FLAT at 26,182.68

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.8 percent at 22,486.92 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 26,227.72 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,635.63 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1439 from $1.1434 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3102 from $1.3130

Dollar/yen: UP at 113.64 yen from 113.53 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: DOWN 47 cents at $71.60 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 44 cents at $61.23 per barrel