December 22, 2014
Wall Street S&P 500 hits fresh peak after Fed
Wall Street stocks jumped today, taking the S&P 500 index of top companies to an all-time record after the Federal Reserve promised to keep in place low interest-rate policies and forecast the world's biggest economy would expand moderately.
Treasuries prices also gained, as the dollar added to mild losses posted ahead of a Fed policy statement and a news conference by US central bank chief Janet Yellen, who calmed investor worries she might adopt a more hawkish tone on monetary policy.
The S&P 500 gained 14.99 points or 0.77 percent, to finish at 1,956.98, eclipsing the previous record set on June 9.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 98.13 points, or 0.58 percent, to end at 16,906.62. The Nasdaq Composite added 25.60 points or 0.59 percent, to 4,362.84 as US equities extended a three-day winning streak
Benchmark 10-year notes gained 17/32 in price to yield 2.59 percent. Five-year notes rose 11/32 in price to yield 1.67 percent.
European stock markets were steady, hovering near multi-year highs reached last week and supported by shares in major energy companies as violence in Iraq pushed up oil prices.
However, many investors were reluctant to buy new positions as they awaited the conclusion of the US Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting later in the day.
The price of Brent crude oil rose towards $114 a barrel as Sunni militants pushed forward in northern Iraq, striking the country's biggest refinery and stoking worries about oil exports as some firms pulled foreign oil workers out of the country.
This in turn pushed up the share prices of oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total, which together added the most points to major European markets.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index closed up 0.1 percent at 3,279.20 points.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended flat at 1,387.44 points but remained in touching distance of a 6-1/2 year high of 1,398.65 points reached last week.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a 1 1/2-week high as the yen weakened on strong US consumer prices data, while financial stocks tracked the performances of their US counterparts.
The Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to 15,115.80, the highest closing level since June 9. The broader Topix gained 0.9 percent to 1,249.15, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.8 percent to 11,365.37.