European stock markets closed higher on Wednesday as the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75%.
In London, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) closed up 0.6%, with most sectors in the green apart from basic resources after a slew of corporate results.
It comes as only 20% of train journeys are expected to go ahead in Britain on Wednesday, with as many as 40,000 RMT union members at Network Rail, and 14 train companies, walking out over pay, pensions, and working conditions.
The knock-on effects of the disruption are also expected to roll into Thursday, according to Network Rail, with further RMT strikes planned for 18 and 20 August, and London Underground staff planning to strike on 19 August.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky on Wednesday morning that unions were being “increasingly militant” and blocking efforts to modernise the railway.
Watch: Liz Truss says she will legislate against rail strikes
It also followed a muted session on Tuesday thanks to rising concerns that the uncertainty over reduced Russian gas flows is likely to lead to a European recession.
“It is an extremely busy couple of days for the market with a slew of earnings, the Fed’s rate decision and key economic data stateside,” Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said.
The main focus for traders today will be on this evening’s Federal Reserve decision on interest rates.
“It’s certain that the Federal Reserve will be hiking rates again today by another 75bps, with the only question being what comes next, and whether we see 50bps or another 75bps in September,” Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said.
“Two weeks ago, there was some speculation that we might see a 100bps move today, however that seems much less likely now.
“An aggressive 100bps is by no means off the table, but it has become less probable after two of the most hawkish Fed members, Christopher Waller, and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard pushed back, saying that 75bps remained their favoured option, which prompted a modest retreat in the US dollar, which hit a 20 year earlier this month.”
It came as orders at US factories for durable goods came in strong last month, rising 1.9% to beat expectations for a slowdown.
The rise, which is not adjusted for inflation was mainly driven by an 80.5% rise in spending on defence aircraft. Core capital goods, stripping out aircraft and military hardware, edged up a less-impressive 0.5%.
Elsewhere, stocks in Asia were mixed overnight. In Japan, the Nikkei (^N225) climbed 0.2% while other key markets lagged.
Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?