4 Min Read
* UniCredit unveils plans to raise 13 billion euros
* U.S. stocks rise in early trading
* Fed expected to raise rates but markets focus on forecasts (Updates with early U.S. market activity, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Global stock indexes rose while the dollar held steady on Tuesday as investors turned their focus to the U.S. Federal Reserve's expected interest rate hike this week and potential changes in its inflation and growth outlook.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average hit fresh record highs in early U.S. trading, and the Dow was less than 1 percent away from hitting the 20,000 mark for the first time.
The gains extended the market's post U.S.-election move up that has been driven largely by hopes of better U.S. economic growth under President-elect Donald Trump.
Yet uncertainty over whether the Fed would signal a slow or fast pace of rate increases following its meeting kept the dollar steady against a basket of currencies.
The Fed on Wednesday is widely expected to hike interest rates for the first time since last December and only the second since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, but investors will be examining the central bank's statement and economic forecasts for any signs of how it thinks Trump's election affects the outlook for growth and inflation.
"Understandably, the market is in a little bit of a holding pattern" ahead of the Fed's policy statement, said Richard Franulovich, a senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in New York.
U.S. Treasury yields slipped, consolidating recent gains ahead of the Fed announcement.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 67.55 points, or 0.34 percent, to 19,863.98, the S&P 500 had gained 10.36 points, or 0.459025 percent, to 2,267.32 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 55.41 points, or 1.02 percent, to 5,467.95.
In Europe, stocks were helped by gains in banks after Italy's largest lender unveiled a 13 billion-euro share issue.
UniCredit launched Italy's biggest share issue to clean up its balance sheet and boost profitability, the latest move to strengthen the Italian banking sector, which has been clouding the outlook for European stocks.
MSCI's all-country world stock index was up 0.7 percent, the pan-European STOXX 600 share index gained 1.1 percent.
The U.S. dollar index was last down 0.06 percent at 100.970. The dollar was up 0.23 percent against the yen JPY= at 115.29 yen after hitting a 10-month high of 116.12 yen on Monday.
In the U.S. bond market, the U.S. 10-year note prices were up 1/32, while the yield fell to 2.473 percent from 2.479 percent late on Monday. Earlier on Monday, the yield hit 2.528 percent, its highest level since Sept. 29, 2014, according to Reuters data.
Oil prices dipped, a day after surging to an 18-month high on Monday after the world's top crude producers agreed to the first joint output cut since 2001.
Brent crude was down 0.3 percent at $55.53 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were down 0.2 percent at $52.72.
For Reuters' new Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets, see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
Additional reporting by Sam Forgione in New York; Nigel Stephenson, John Geddie, Patrick Graham and Atul Prakash in London; Editing by Andrew Roche and Nick Zieminski