The Federal Reserve opted to keep rates near zero, as expected
Wall Street stocks fell overnight after the Federal Reserve opted to keep rates near zero, as expected while Jerome Powell vowed to keep benchmark interest rates near zero and said the policy will stay accommodative for some time, despite rising inflation. He also stressed that the vaccination push in the U.S. strengthened the economy. Still, major indexes finished in negative territory on Wednesday. The S&P 500 dropped 0.08%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.48%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 0.28%.
Asian shares rose on Thursday after President Joe Biden’s speech that outlined generous plans for jobs creating spending on early education, child care, and other public services. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.8%, the Shanghai Composite index picked up 0.52%, the Kospi gave up 0.2% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.25%. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.
European equities advanced on Thursday as investors react to the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates near zero. The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.4% in early trade. In individual stocks, Shell exceeded first-quarter profit expectations to record adjusted earnings of $3.2 billion and raised its dividend by around 4%. The company’s stock was 2% higher in early trade.
Meanwhile, the dollar came under some selling pressure following the Fed’s meeting as the central bank refrained from sending hawkish signals to investors. As such, EURUSD briefly rose to fresh highs around 1.2150 before retreating to the flat-line in recent trading. Later in the day, economic data out of the United States could affect the pair’s dynamics. If the figures exceed expectations, the greenback may see renewed demand across the board.