January 30, 2019 / 1:16 AM / 8 months ago

Stocks surge on Fed pledge to pause, dollar slips

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar slid and equities surged on Wednesday, fueled by Boeing and Apple’s results and extended after the Federal Reserve pledged to be patient with future interest rate hikes, a change in tone that stock investors interpreted as a buy signal.

A trader works at his desk at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

The Fed, in its policy statement at the end of a two-day meeting, struck the language from its December policy statement that indicated further rate hikes would be appropriate in 2019. That language had roiled markets amid signs of slower global growth.

U.S. stocks extended gains and bond yields fell as markets got what they were hoping for, said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz in Newport Beach, California. “This marks a full 180 from what the Fed was signaling just a few months ago,” he said.

Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners in Santa Monica, California, said the Fed’s pause will further extend the economic expansion, allowing excesses to continue to build and increasing risks of financial instability.

“The Fed refilled the punch bowl and the party goes on. Buy risk assets,” Minerd said.

The Fed’s policy statement indicates the U.S. central bank will remain on a dovish path, which is very supportive for risk assets, at least on the short term, said Putri Pascualy, managing director for PAAMCO in Irvine, California.

“The back-drop of slowing economic growth on a global basis is the 800 trillion gorilla in the room,” Pascualy said.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks share performance in 47 countries, rose 1.2 percent following gains in Asia overnight. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading shares in Europe closed up 0.41 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 434.9 points, or 1.77 percent, to 25,014.86. The S&P 500 gained 41.05 points, or 1.55 percent, to 2,681.05, and the Nasdaq Composite added 154.79 points, or 2.2 percent, to 7,183.08.

Upbeat results from Boeing and Apple late on Tuesday provided investors early relief.

Boeing shares rose 6.25 percent after the world’s largest planemaker raised its profit and cash flow expectations for 2019 amid a boom in air travel. Boeing also indicated it had overcome supplier delays that snarled 737 production last year.

Apple results provided some reassurance as the iPhone maker reported sharp growth in its services business. Its shares gained 6.83 percent

Oil prices rose, paring gains of more than 1 percent, as the potential for supply disruptions following U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry lifted prices.

Stocks listed in London jumped more than 1 percent after British lawmakers late on Tuesday rejected a proposal in Parliament that aimed to prevent a potentially chaotic “no-deal” Brexit, a vote that initially pushed sterling sharply lower.

The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 in London rose 1.45 percent as its components often are boosted by a weaker pound because its multinational companies earn a large portion of their revenue abroad in foreign currency.

Sterling rose 0.04 percent to $1.3071 after sliding about 0.7 percent against the dollar and the euro following parliamentary votes on Brexit.

“The vote is not fundamentally changing the way the market’s talking about Brexit,” said Hetal Mehta, Legal & General Investment Management senior European economist.

Payrolls processor ADP reported that the U.S. private sector added 213,000 jobs in January, which beat forecasts for gains of 178,000. But the monthly total was lower than the 271,000 jobs added in December.

The dollar index fell 0.39 percent to 95.447. Against the yen, the dollar fell 0.33 percent to 109.02.

FILE PHOTO - A woman using a smartphone is reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The euro gained 0.39 percent to $1.1475.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 6/32 in price to push yields down to 2.6900 percent.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 92 cents to settle at $54.23, while international Brent crude futures rose 33 cents to settle at $61.65 per barrel.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Will Dunham and Leslie Adler

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