Last updated Sunday, September 25, 2016 10:07 am GMT+8

Friday September 23, 2016
07:20 AM GMT+8

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 21, 2014. — Reuters picTraders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 21, 2014. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Sept 23 — World stock indexes and bond prices climbed yesterday, extending gains from a day earlier, when the US Federal Reserve signalled an increasingly cautious approach to future interest rate hikes.

The S&P 500 had its best two-day performance in more than two months, while the dollar fell to its lowest in 10 days against a basket of major currencies.

The Fed said it could hike rates by year-end as the labor market improved further, but scaled back the number of rate increases expected in 2017 and 2018. It also reduced its longer-run rate forecast to 2.9 per cent from 3 per cent.

That left investors feeling that any monetary policy tightening would be leisurely at best. Market pricing for a December move rose only a fraction, to 59.3 per cent from 59.2 per cent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“Lower for longer is a good thing for the equity markets…” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. 

“It basically says risk back on.”

Big tech names led broad gains on Wall Street, and the Nasdaq closed at a record high for a second straight session.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 98.76 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 18,392.46, the S&P 500 gained 14.06 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 2,177.18, while the Nasdaq Composite added 44.34 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 5,339.52, a record closing high.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index was up 1.1 per cent, while Europe’s STOXX 600 closed up 1.6 per cent.

In the bond market, benchmark US yields hit near two-week lows on revived bets the Fed would raise rates slowly due to weak economic growth and inflation stuck below its 2-per cent goal.

Traders’ perception that a December rate hike is far from a sure thing, and that the Fed is on a slow path of rate normalisation, led them to favour longer-dated Treasuries over shorter-dated issues. The move pushed the yield curve to its flattest level in more than a week.

US benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose 9/32 in price, yielding 1.637 per cent, down 4 basis points from Wednesday. It touched 1.6080, which was its lowest since Sept. 9, Reuters data showed.

The dollar index fell to 95.048, its lowest point since September 12. It rebounded slightly in afternoon trading, gaining largely against the euro and was last down 0.25 per cent at 95.426.

Oil prices climbed for a second day on US government data that showed a surprising crude inventory drop. But the advance was limited by trader worries that OPEC was not nearing an agreement to reduce a global glut.

US crude futures rose 98 cents, or 2.2 per cent, to settle at US$46.32 (RM190.24) a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose 82 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to settle at US$47.65.

In other commodities, gold hit a two-week high, with spot gold up 0.1 per cent at US$1,337.28 an ounce. — Reuters 

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