European stocks fell after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled benchmark interest rates could rise about six months after the central bank ends bond purchases. U.S. index futures were little changed, while Asian shares dropped.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.4 percent to 326.27 at 8:06 a.m. in London. The benchmark gauge has slipped 0.6 percent in 2014, after two years of gains, as the Fed began trimming its asset buying by $10 billion a month and a conflict in Ukraine led to tensions between Russia and the U.S. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slipped less than 0.1 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 2 percent.
Yellen, speaking after chairing a Federal Open Market Committee meeting for the first time, said policy makers dropped a linkage between interest rates and an employment threshold. Even so, pressed to define how long rates will remain low after quantitative easing ends, she said the term would be “in the order of around six months.”
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