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Thursday, March 19, 2015

US stocks slip, dollar gains day after Fed view

US stocks ended mostly lower today while the dollar resumed its upward trend in a broad rally as investors resumed a bullish stance on the greenback.

The activity was largely a retreat from yesterday's heavy move into riskier assets like stocks and oil, after the Federal Reserve's policy statement struck a more dovish tone than investors had anticipated.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 116.83 points, or 0.65 percent, to 17,959.36, the S&P 500 lost 10.18 points, or 0.48 percent, to 2,089.32, and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.55 points, or 0.19 percent, to 4,992.38.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top regional shares closed 0.46 percent higher, ending at its highest level since 2007, led by Italian stocks thanks to sharp gains in tyre maker Pirelli and utility Enel.

Shares in Enel rose 1.9 percent after it said it aims to raise profits and dividends over the next five years by focusing on emerging markets and green energy. Writedowns caused its 2014 net profit to fall 84 percent.

Pirelli rose 3.3 percent and briefly hit a 25-year high after an Italian daily said the tyre maker was working on a revamp plan that includes taking an Asian partner, the launch of a buyout offer and the de-listing of the group.

They helped Milan's FTSE MIB index rise 1.1 percent, outperforming all major European indexes.

The STOXX Europe 600 of European shares closed up 0.6 percent at 400.83 points after hitting its highest level since September 2000 at 402.09 points.

European markets have been boosted by the European Central Bank's bond-buying programme, known as quantitative easing, which has depressed returns on bonds and knocked down the euro.

Meanwhile, foreign investors' net purchases of Japanese stocks in the last week was the biggest in more than three months as risk appetite was boosted by hopes of economic recovery and better shareholder returns, exchange data showed today.

Foreign net buying of Japanese cash stocks was 306.2 billion yen during March 9-13, data released by the Tokyo Stock Exchange showed. It was the largest level since the week of Dec. 1-5.

The Nikkei benchmark has been hitting fresh 15-year highs on optimism over steady economic recovery, improved corporate earnings and better shareholder returns, as well as expectations Japan will be one of the main beneficiaries of weak oil prices. The benchmark has outperformed other global peers this year. It has gained 11.6 percent, while the U.S. S&P 500 index has added 2.0 percent since the beginning of the year.

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Tags:  US  stock market  Europe  Nikkei  





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