Dow falls 300 as Powell signals Fed will keep raising rates

Mar 03, 2018, 05:01
Dow falls 300 as Powell signals Fed will keep raising rates

The following content is sourced from external partners. At the end of other big asset price booms-Japan in 1989 or the USA in 1999-inflation did not increase in a measured way.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 420.22 points, or 1.68 percent, to 24,608.98.

The testimony by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell before Congress was highly anticipated, and he gave encouraging words about the economic data that have arrived in recent weeks.

Which stocks look like key movers? This comes after word that executives from top US steel and aluminum companies had been invited to the White House for an emergency meeting on Thursday.

"The old adage that the markets dislike uncertainty applies to the actions of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve Board chair", said Robert Johnson, president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,717.

Automakers led decliners as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. added to losses already sparked by weak sales numbers.

"He's largely an even-handed, "steady-as-he-goes" change", said John Canavan, market strategist with Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in NY. "All of those stocks that have steel or metal, they slid up".

In the United Kingdom the pound took a late hit yesterday dropping to its lowest level since mid-January after Prime Minister Theresa May rejected outright the EU's latest draft text on the Irish border issue which stated that in the absence of any agreement to the contrary that Northern Ireland stays in a customs union after Brexit and is subject to all EU rules and regulations.

Exchange-traded notes also got some of the blame as it was argued that popular ETNs which track the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, caused additional volatility in the markets. The euro, British pound and yen all rose versus the greenback, which pared earlier gains.

With US treasury yields trading slightly lower back below 2.9, the dollar could struggle to rally much further.

"Bonds are providing a nice shock absorber here", said Gene Tannuzzo, a portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

He said that while there was also a risk of recession at some point in time, it was not "at all high at the moment".

We have been alerting investors about the hawkish turn at the FOMC for a long time.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday the US economy does not appear to be overheating, though the head of the New York Fed suggested a faster pace of interest rate increases may still be in the offing for 2018. Powell's comments that the USA economy had strengthened and that inflation would rise to its target led market participants to consider the prospects of the Fed raising rates more than three times in 2018, as was projected at the December meeting.

Roy Teo, investment strategist for LGT Bank in Singapore, said Powell would probably sound optimistic on the economic outlook and that he would stress patience in assessing whether inflation will head higher. The US central bank has penciled in three rate hikes in 2018. Hong Kong and Chinese shares outperformed after the Caixin manufacturing gauge came in above expectations.

The Federal Reserve Chairman spoke little of the number of rates hikes expected this year. Other Fed speakers this week are Bill Dudley.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech Friday on Britain's relationship with the European Union. The S&P 500 fell 0.63 per cent to 2,761.95 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.84 per cent to 7,359.46.

The MSCI All-Country World Index declined 1 percent.

Comcast fell 7.4% after the U.S. cable giant offered to buy Sky for $31 billion in an unsolicited approach, taking on Rupert Murdoch's Fox and Bob Iger's Walt Disney in the battle for Europe's biggest pay-TV group.

The 10-year Treasury yield held just below 2.9%. Palladium lost 0.2pc to $1,059.10 per ounce while platinum fell 0.7pc to $992.60 per ounce.

West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 0.4 percent to $61.38 a barrel. The rupee finally settled at 65.17, showing a loss of 30 paise or 0.46 per cent - its lowest closing since November 16.

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