LONDON (The Deal) -- Japan's market fell in part because of a massive $2.1 billion loss at Sony (SNE) , which has decided not to pay dividends this year for the first time since 1958. But the Chinese and Hong Kong markets got a jolt of energy overnight on news that China's central bank injected 500 billion yuan ($81 billion) of liquidity into the country's top five lenders for three months, in what analysts expect to be the first of several stimulus measures in the coming weeks.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.14% at 15,888.67. But in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was up 1.0% at 24,376.41 and the Shanghai Composite was up 0.49% at 2,307.89.
In Europe, markets are rising, more on expectation than on fact. Traders are waiting for the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy update. Attention is focused on just two words. Will the Fed -- or won't it -- stick the formulation that interest rates will be held low for a "considerable time?" If the phrase stays, the world can breathe easier. If it goes, maybe rates will rise sooner than later.
Watch the video below for more on how European markets are doing in midday trading Wednesday:
Elsewhere, Britain's unemployment rate fell to 6.2% for the three months to July, its lowest for six years. Economists now expect wage growth to be a determining factor in when the Bank of England raises interest rates. But excluding the distorting effect of bonuses, wages are rising at less than half the rate of inflation. The Bank of England's monetary policy committee was once again split 7 to 2 on whether to raise its policy rate. Meanwhile, August inflation in the eurozone, which doesn't include the U.K., has been revised upwards from 0.3% to an almost as disappointing 0.4% on an annual basis. No one will be in a hurry to raise rates there.
In Frankfurt, Bayerische Motoren Werke (BAMXY) , the maker of BMW and Rolls Royce cars, got a boost from a $20 million order for 30 Rolls Royce Phantoms from Macau gambling tycoon Stephen Hung, who wants them to ferry guests at his new casino complex there. The stock was up 1.03% at 90.19 euros. The wider car industry also got a boost, from figures showing that good sales in the U.K. and Spain helped European auto sales grow for the 12th month in a row.
In London, real estate and home builders led the market upwards. But there were some disappointing stories too. Daily Mail and General Trust, which publishes the popular Daily Mail Online Web site as well as the Daily Mail newspaper and business publications such as Euromoney, saw underlying revenues rise 5% in the 11 months to August. But its share plummeted 6.57% to 761 pence, after the company took a hit on its insurance risk business.
Rupert Murdoch's part-owned satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSYBY) was set back 0.34% to 873 pence after its German sister business Sky Deutschland advised minority shareholders not to accept a takeover offer from the London company. It said BSkyB's 6.75 euros a share offer undervalued the company. Sky Deutschland was up 0.16% at €6.73.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.27% at 6,810.74, while in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.61% at 4,436.04. Frankfurt's DAX index was up 0.48% at 9,679.56.