U.S. bond yields, dollar gain, stocks fall after Fed rate hike

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Yields on shorter-dated Treasuries hit their highest levels in more than five years on Wednesday while the dollar rose to its highest against the yen in 10 months after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates and signaled a faster pace of hikes in 2017.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as a television screen displays coverage of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen shortly after the announcement that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates, in New York, U.S., December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - RTX2V29C

Wall Street stocks ended a volatile session with their biggest percentage decline since before the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election, while gold prices hit a 10-month low.

As expected, the Fed raised the target federal funds rate 25 basis points to between 0.50 percent and 0.75 percent. It was its first rate hike in a year and its second since the financial crisis.

Central bank policymakers also shifted their outlook to one of slightly faster growth, with President-elect Donald Trump planning a simultaneous round of tax cuts and increased spending on infrastructure. The Fed now sees three rate hikes in 2017 instead of the two foreseen in September.

“It was largely as expected, but it’s pretty clear the market is taking it as a bit more aggressive or hawkish than it had thought,” said Ed Keon, portfolio manager and managing director at QMA, a multi-asset manager wholly owned by Prudential Financial in Newark.

Yields on two-year Treasury notes rose to their highest level since August 2009, while three-year yields hit their highest since May 2010 and five-year yields rose to their highest since May 2011.

U.S. two-year Treasury notes were last down 4/32 in price to yield 1.238 percent, an increase of more than 8 basis points from its late Tuesday levels.

The dollar rallied about 1.3 percent against the yen to 116.71 yen, its highest since Feb. 8, while the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hit a nearly three-week high of 101.960 and was last up 0.8 percent at 101.86.

The dollar and bond yields were mostly trading lower before the Fed statement.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 118.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to 19,792.53, while the S&P 500 lost 18.44 points, or 0.81 percent, to 2,253.28, its biggest daily percentage drop since Oct. 11.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 27.16 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,436.67.

U.S. stocks traded both sides of unchanged just after the statement but began adding to losses during Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s subsequent news conference.

With U.S. stocks, “we’ve had a great run, so it’s tempting maybe to take a little bit off the table,” Keon said. Stocks have rallied since the election on bets of higher U.S. economic growth.

The S&P utilities index, which tends to fall as bond yields rise, fell 2 percent and led losses in the S&P 500, along with the energy index, which fell 2.1 percent.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index was down 0.6 percent. The pan-European STOXX 600 share index ended down 0.5 percent.

“All elements we’ve received so far from the Fed, including the policy statement, the forecasts, the dot plot, tilt hawkish. They imply that the Fed sees more room to run with interest rates higher given the Trump election,” said Frances Donald, senior economist at Manulife Asset Management in Boston.

In contrast to the Fed, the European Central Bank only last week extended its asset-buying campaign and moved to purchase more short-term debt.


Gold turned lower and tapped the lowest in more than 10 months following the Fed statement, while oil prices fell with the dollar’s gain.

Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,154.62 an ounce.

Brent crude futures settled at $53.90 per barrel, down $1.82, or 3.27 percent. U.S. crude ended the session down $1.94, or 3.66 percent at $51.04 per barrel.

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Additional reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis