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December 11, 2017
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wall Street rises as Yellen pleases investors

The S&P 500 lifted into positive territory after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank should proceed "cautiously" on raising interest rates - music to Wall Street's ears.

In her first comments since the Fed held steady on rates earlier this month, Yellen said global risks remained, including uncertainty over China and low oil prices.

Yellen's cautious tone contrasted with recent comments from other policymakers, including the chiefs of the Philadelphia and Atlanta Federal Reserves, who had expressed support for a more aggressive approach to raising interest rates this year.

Fed funds futures implied that traders now see a 46 percent chance the Fed will raise rates by a quarter point at its July policy meeting, below the 51 percent chance seen on Monday, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.

Economic and financial troubles in countries around the world have led policymakers to project slower path of rate hikes than initially expected in December. Along with a strong dollar, they are hurdles for US multinationals that are struggling to expand.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.46 percent at 17,615.96 points and the S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent to 2,051.27. The Nasdaq Composite added 1.39 percent to 4,833.23.

Stocks had been down slightly before Yellen spoke.

The US Treasury market rallied, with yields hitting multi-week lows, while the dollar weakened after her comments.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by tech stocks. The S&P financial sector fell 0.35 percent.

The energy index rose 0.21 percent despite a 2.7 percent drop in Brent crude oil. US stocks and the price of oil have often moved in lockstep in recent months but that was not the case Tuesday.

Shares of banks, which stand to gain from higher interest rates, were the biggest drags on the S&P 500. Bank of America fell 2.53 percent, while Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and Citigroup each declined over 1 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,333 to 670. On the Nasdaq, 2,052 issues rose and 718 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 35 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 47 new highs and 40 new lows.

In Europe, stock markets rose as stronger insurance shares offset weaker commodity-linked stocks, which fell in tandem with lower metals and oil prices.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.5 percent while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 0.6 percent.

The STOXX Europe 600 Insurance index climbed 0.8 percent, making it one of the best-performing sectors.

RSA Insurance rose 1.6 percent after Deutsche Bank and Barclays increased their target prices for the stock, while Dutch insurer and financial services company NN Group gained 1.5 percent as HSBC put it on its "Europe Super 10" list.

Mining stocks including Glencore and Anglo American fell, tracking a decline in metals prices.

Copper prices lost ground as the dollar rose, adding pressure on metals by making the asset class more expensive for consumers paying with other currencies.

Weaker oil prices also pushed down the shares of BP and Total.

While the FTSEurofirst has risen some 10 percent from February lows, the index remains down by 8 percent since the start of 2016, mainly due to concerns about a China-led global economic slowdown.

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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