* Fed makes new rate pledge, pumps more money
* Dollar falls vs euro, higher-yield currencies
* Treasury prices fall sharply
* Gold rises as Fed move bolsters demand for inflation hedge
By Wanfeng Zhou
NEW YORK, Dec 12 Global shares rose and the euro
jumped against the dollar on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve
ramped up its monetary stimulus and said it would keep benchmark
U.S. interest rates near zero until the jobless rate falls
But U.S. stocks ended little changed, giving up most of the
day's gains after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that
monetary policy won't be enough to offset damage from the
Treasury prices fell, with 30-year bonds slumping the most,
as the central bank said it would shift more of its purchases to
the five-year sector in a new easing program. Expectations the
move would boost the economy and support riskier assets such as
stocks also hurt safe-haven government debt.
The Fed, which cut its forecasts for economic growth and
inflation next year, committed to monthly purchases of $45
billion in Treasuries on top of the $40 billion per month in
mortgage-backed bonds it started buying in September, as
It will likely keep official rates near zero for as long as
unemployment remains above 6.5 percent, inflation is projected
to be no more than 2.5 percent one or two years ahead and
inflation expectations remain contained.
"It's another round of easing. It is good for stocks and
risk more generally," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at
Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. "And they came out
with an economic data point as a guideline. That's very
important, because it helps the market anticipate an exit
The MSCI global stock index advanced 0.3
percent to 337.93. The FTSEurofirst 300 closed up 0.1
percent at 1,139.65.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 2.99 points,
or 0.02 percent, to end at 13,245.45. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index gained 0.64 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at
1,428.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 8.49
points, or 0.28 percent, to 3,013.81.
Bernanke "reiterated the fact that monetary policy has its
hands tied as far as addressing the seriousness of going over
the fiscal cliff," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at
BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on
Wednesday "serious differences" remain with President Barack
Obama in talks to avert the steep tax hikes and budget cuts set
for the new year.
The euro rose 0.5 percent to $1.3066 after hitting a
session peak of $1.3096 after the Fed announcement.
The euro had jumped sharply minutes before the Fed
announcement. Traders attributed the move to comments from
Silvio Berlusconi, who said he would withdraw as a candidate in
Italy's coming election if outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti
ran as the head of a "moderate" coalition.
The dollar fell to multi-month lows against higher-yielding
currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars
Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign
Exchange in Washington, said the scope for further dollar losses
may be somewhat limited, given investor concern about the U.S.
fiscal cliff, which could boost the safe-haven dollar.
"Uncertainty about the euro zone, concerns about Italy and
the Japan election this weekend should also limit dollar
losses," Esiner said.
The dollar rose to an eight-month high of 83.29 yen and was
last up 0.8 percent at 83.18 on bets the Bank of Japan
will implement more aggressive monetary easing after the
election on Sunday, which is expected to yield a victory for the
Liberal Democratic Party.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 14/32 in
price, the yield at 1.704 percent. Thirty-year bonds
dropped 1-3/32 in price to yield 2.897 percent.
The new bond buying replaces the more modest "Operation
Twist" program set to expire at the end of the month. The Fed
will expand purchases to five-year notes from the current
seven-, 10- and 30-year Treasuries.
"They are basically taking out the same amount of duration
that they were in Twist, but they are buying less in the long
end than they had been before," said Ira Jersey, an interest
rate strategist at Credit Suisse in New York.
Oil prices rose. Brent crude futures gained $1.49 to
settle at $109.50 a barrel. U.S. crude rose 98 cents to
settle at $86.77 a barrel.
Spot gold rose to $1,712 an ounce after the Fed
decision bolstered bullion's inflation-hedge appeal.