tiptrot.com March 21, 2018

Stocks wait-and-see rally ahead of Fed meeting

21 September 2017, 12:15 | Cedric Leonard

Stocks wait-and-see rally ahead of Fed meeting

Stocks wait-and-see rally ahead of Fed meeting

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was up 3 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,444. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was off 0.1 percent.

After pushing the S&P above its 2,500-point milestone last week, investors were holding their fire as they awaited more clues on the timing of the next rate hike from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Japan's Nikkei stock index ended 2 percent higher after touching its highest levels since late June, catching up to global equities gains and a weaker yen as Tokyo markets reopened after a public holiday on Monday. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,385.

The dollar traded narrowly around ¥111.50 in early trading, as a wait-and-see mood grew ahead of the Fed's decision at its two-day Federal Open Market Committee policy meeting through Wednesday.

The Dow closed at a record high on Friday, and so did the S&P 500.

Investors will be keeping a close watch on the U.S. central bank as policymakers have to deal with the fallout from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hammered the country and are expected to hit economic growth. After leaving the rate at a record low for seven years after the 2008 crisis, the Fed has modestly raised it four times since December 2015 to a still-low range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent.

"In the short run financials will benefit", said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors, if the Fed action pushes long-term rates higher relative to short-term rates. American Airlines Group rose 87 cents, or 2 percent, to $45.25.

South Korean shares dipped 0.1 percent, against a backdrop of caution ahead of the Fed meeting as well as continuing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Besides that, market watchers will keep a close eye on the BOJ policy meeting on Thursday, where expectations are for the central bank to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy.

Against the US dollar and the euro, the kiwi dropped to 0.7303 and 1.6439 from an early 2-day highs of 0.7342 and 1.6349, respectively.

But economists and Fed officials say the storms will not affect the underlying trend in growth, which has been steady at around two percent in recent years, and activity should rebound later in the year due to reconstruction efforts.

A relatively quiet North Korea and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent comments on "peaceful solution" also led investors back to riskier assets.

US crude futures were down 1 cent at $49.90 per barrel, within sight of Thursday's almost four-month high of $50.50.

The US dollar bought 111.46 Japanese yen, lower than 111.48 yen of the previous session.

Regarding commodities, oil prices were in an uptrend during the Asian trading, with WTI crude rising by 0.52% to $50.15 per barrel and Brent being 0.13% higher at $55.69.

A dollar index fell 0.14 percent.

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