December 16, 2017
Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wall Street gains as commodities rally, dollar plunges

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average turned positive for the year on Thursday, a day after the US Federal Reserve signaled fewer interest rate hikes for the year.

The Fed's dovish stance weighed on the U.S. dollar, which catapulted commodity prices to their highest levels this year. The best performing sectors in the S&P 500 were materials and energy.

"It's a continued reaction from the Fed's move yesterday," said David Lefkowitz, senior equities analyst at UBS Americas Wealth Management in New York.

The Fed on Wednesday pointed to moderate US economic growth and strong job gains but cautioned about risks from an uncertain global economy. The central bank pointed to the possibility of two more rate hikes before the end of the year, having laid out four hikes in 2016 when it raised rates in December.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 181.96 points, or 1.05 percent, to 17,507.72, the S&P 500 had gained 15.59 points, or 0.77 percent, to 2,042.81 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 11.60 points, or 0.24 percent, to 4,775.57.

European equities ended lower after a choppy session dragged down by exporters as the euro strengthened against the dollar after the US Federal Reserve flagged fewer rate rises this year than previously expected.

Mining companies, however, were among the beneficiaries as a weaker dollar made metals more affordable to consumers who buy them in non-dollar denominated currencies, boosting metals such as copper and aluminium.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, Germany's DAX and France's CAC closed 0.1 to 0.9 percent lower, a day after the Fed held rates steady and indicated that while moderate US economic growth and "strong job gains" would allow it to raise rates this year, policymakers now expect two quarter-point increases by the end of the year, half the number forecast in December.

Japanese stocks fell in a volatile trading as the stronger yen dented investors' risk appetite and more than offset a rally after the US Federal Reserve signalled fewer interest rate hikes this year.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.2 percent lower at 16,936.38. The index had earlier risen as much as 1.6 percent to hit an intraday high of 17,253.03.

The broader Topix dropped 0.1 percent to 1,358.97. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 percent to 12,279.75.

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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia