European stock markets were struggling for direction on Tuesday, with investors staying on the sidelines ahead of the closely watched OPEC meeting and the Italian referendum later in the week. The sharp moves reflect uncertainty ahead of the country’s referendum on proposed constitutional reforms on Sunday. Analysts fear a rejection could unleash political and economic uncertainty in a country that’s already battling with a banking crisis.
U.S. stocks closed higher on Tuesday with the Nasdaq touching a record, but the market failed to make much headway as oil futures slumped ahead of a key meeting of major crude producers. The second reading of gross domestic product showed the economy grew at the fastest pace in over two years in the third quarter, while a measure of consumer confidence soared in November to prerecession levels.
Asian stocks tried to stabilize after a rocky November month drew to a close, but Wednesday’s session brought new anxieties as Chinese equities and commodities tanked amid worries that Beijing’s efforts to support its currency could squeeze liquidity. Analysts said moves by China’s central bank in recent days to shore up a sliding yuan were sucking additional funds from the banking system, which is pushing up domestic borrowing costs.