Dollar firms as Fed suspense builds, shares off highs
05/21/2013| 03:39am US/Eastern
The dollar edged higher, gold steadied and European shares remained near five-year highs on Tuesday as investors wait to see if the U.S. Federal Reserve will give any signal on the future of its stimulus program.
The dollar <.DXY> was up 0.2 percent against major currencies as European trading gathered pace.
Upbeat comments from Chicago policymaker Charles Evans have made Wednesday's release of minutes of the U.S. central bank's last meeting the main focus for markets, with Fed chairman Ben Bernanke due to testify to Congress on the same day.
Having hit a five-year high on Monday, European shares <.FTEU3> opened 0.3 percent lower as investors cashed in on some of the recent gains. It was a similar story in the bond market, where German Bund futures dipped.
"With the economic numbers being pretty good in the States, there may be an easing back of QE (bond buying) sooner rather than later," said Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths.
"The DAX and Euro STOXX have moved ahead a lot more than the UK, so in the event of any profit-taking in the U.S., the European markets may drop just that little bit more."
Currency and stock markets across Asia were largely subdued, although Japan's Nikkei index managed to creep up to a fresh 5-1/2 year high and the yen gave back some of Monday's minor gains.
After its recent rollercoaster ride, gold steadied at around $1,390 an ounce, although the stronger dollar left it facing its eighth fall in nine sessions.
(Editing by Catherine Evans)
By Marc Jones