April 9, 2014 / 8:05 PM / 4 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Equities rise, dollar weakens on signals from Fed minutes

* Fed minutes suggest rates may not rise anytime soon
    * Bond prices fall after minutes suggest rate hike unlikely
    * Alcoa's results help boost sentiment, shares rise 3.8
percent
    * Brent oil rises toward $108 a barrel on Ukraine worries

 (Recasts with reaction to Fed minutes; adds oil settlement
prices)
    By Herbert Lash
    NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - Global equity markets advanced
and the dollar retreated on  Wednesday after minutes from the
Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting suggested the U.S.
central bank may not raise interest rates anytime soon.
    Stocks on Wall Street jumped, with the Nasdaq rising more
than 1 percent, and prices for U.S. government debt fell.
    Fed policy-makers were unanimous in wanting to ditch the
thresholds they had been using to telegraph a policy tightening,
according to minutes of a meeting that shed little new light on
what might prompt a rise in interest rates. 
    "People are taking solace in the idea that the Fed may be
more accommodative than previously thought, for longer than
previously thought," said Steve Sosnick, equity-risk manager at
Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich, Connecticut.
"That's giving the lift to stocks and explains why the dollar
fell against the euro."
    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 151.72 points, 
or 0.93 percent, to 16,407.86. The S&P 500 gained 16.94
points, or 0.91 percent, to 1,868.9 and the Nasdaq Composite
 added 62.304 points, or 1.51 percent, to 4,175.29.
    The euro rose as high as $1.3856, its strongest level
since March 24, and was last at $1.3850, up 0.41 percent.
    Against the Swiss franc, the dollar fell to 0.8789 franc
, its lowest level in more than two weeks. 
    The dollar was flat to higher against the yen, having fallen
following the Fed minutes, after trading higher for most of the
session. It last traded up 0.1 percent at 101.89 yen.
    On Wall Street, U.S. stocks had been up all day after
aluminum producer Alcoa late Tuesday reported quarterly
results that topped analysts' expectations, even though the
company's adjusted profit fell due to declining aluminum prices.
 
    Shares of Alcoa gained 3.8 percent to $13.00 and at
one point were the best performer among components of the
benchmark S&P 500 index. 
    Alcoa has long been the first S&P 500 company to report
results each quarter, and since aluminum is used by some key
industries, including the automotive, aerospace and construction
sectors, some see it as a bellwether for the earnings season.
    Earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are projected to have
increased just 1 percent from last year's first quarter, Thomson
Reuters data showed. The forecast is down sharply from the start
of the year, when profit growth was estimated at 6.5 percent.
    "Earnings will really help give this market some forward
direction, but they are in front of us and haven't really hit
yet," said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView
Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
    The Nasdaq biotechnology index was up 4.1 percent and
the Global X social media index was up 3.3 percent.
    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading
regional shares closed up 0.36 percent at 1,338.12, while MSCI's
all-country equity index rose 0.72 percent.
    Gains in Europe were led by automakers, although some
traders said caution ahead of the European earnings season could
curb near-term progress.
    U.S. Treasuries prices fell as traders trimmed their bond
holdings in advance of a $21 billion auction of 10-year notes.
    The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was down
6/32 in price to yield 2.7043 percent.
    Brent crude rose toward $108 a barrel as rising tension
between Russia and Ukraine overshadowed the bearish impact of a
substantial rise in crude oil stockpiles in the United States.
    While the Ukraine crisis may not directly impact global oil
supplies and trade, the risk premium on oil is rising as
investors worry the Kremlin's stand-off with the West could
quickly take a turn for the worse.
    Brent crude rose 31 cents to settle at $107.98 a
barrel. U.S. oil settled up $1.04 to $103.60.
    

 (Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Marc Jones
in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)

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