NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S.-listed shares of foreign companies were little changed on Thursday as investors stepped to the sidelines ahead of a possible decision on stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Open Market Committee policy meeting concludes later in the day and many investors expect the U.S. central bank to announce a third round of quantitative easing to boost growth.
Expectations for stimulus have come amid signs of slowing expansion, including weak data on the labor market, although equities have rallied in recent months as investors bet on additional accommodative policies.
Cyclical sectors like materials and banks, which are tied to the pace of growth, were flat on Thursday as investors moved to the sidelines ahead of the announcement. The sectors were among the biggest gainers in that rally and could be hit the hardest if the Fed disappoints.
Barclays Plc (BCS.N), which has surged 35 percent over the past three months, was 0.1 percent higher at $13.91 on Thursday. Lloyd’s Banking Group (LYG.N), up 28 percent over the past three months, was flat on the day at $2.45.
The BNY Mellon index of leading American Depositary Receipts .BKADR was flat, as was an index of leading European ADRs .BKEUR. The S&P 500 .SPX rose less than 0.1 percent.
Defensive shares, which are seen as having less correlation to the Fed’s decision, rose on the day. Insurer Prudential Plc (PUK.N) rose 1.5 percent to $26.92 while China Telecom (CHA.N) was up 1.7 percent at $61.03.
The BNY Mellon index of leading Asian ADRs .BKAS slid 0.2 percent as did an index of Latin American ADRs .BKLA.
In company news, China Green Agriculture Inc (CGA.N) slumped 7.8 percent to $4 after reporting its fourth-quarter results.
Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Dave Zimmerman