Thu, 07 Dec 2023

Fed interest rate increase punctures U.S. stocks

Lola Evans
23 Mar 2023, 06:12 GMT+10

NEW YORK, New York - A hike in official U.S. interest rates of 0.25 percent, and a jump in inflation in the UK kept buyers at bay on Wall Street Wednesday, with the major indices falling sharply in a late afternoon sell-off.

"The Committee will closely monitor incoming information and assess the implications for monetary policy," the Federal Reserves Open Market Committee said in raising rates by a quarter point following their traditional two month meeting Wednesday. "The Committee anticipates that some additional policy firming may be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to two percent over time."

In the UK, inflation in February peaked at 10.40 percent, well ahead of projections of 9.9 percent.

The Standard and Poor's 500 decreased 65.90 points or 1.65 percent to 3,936.97.

The Dow Jones industrials tumbled 530.49 points or 1.63 percent to 32,030.11.

The Nasdaq Composite retreated 190.15 points or 1.60 percent to 11,669.96.

On foreign exchange markets, in late U.S. trading on Wednesday, the euro gained ground against the U.S. dollar, with the EURUSD pair up by 0.92 percent, at 1.0864. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar weakened against the Japanese yen, with the USDJPY pair down by 0.99 percent, or 1.317, to 131.16.

The U.S. dollar also saw a slight increase against the Canadian dollar, with the USDCAD pair up by 0.04 percent, to 1.3718. However, the British pound continued to gain strength against the U.S. dollar, with the pound up by 0.50 percent, to 1.2277.

In other currency pairs, the U.S. dollar weakened against the Swiss franc, with the USDCHF pair down by 0.51 percent, to 0.9175. The Australian dollar also gained ground against the U.S. dollar, gaining 0.35 percent, to 0.6689. Similarly, the New Zealand dollar gained 0.56 percent against the U.S. dollar, with the NZDUSD pair trading at 0.6226.

Overall, the U.S. dollar experienced mixed trading against other major currencies on Wednesday.

Global stock markets mostly rose on Wednesday, with several key indices hitting record highs. The Nikkei 225 in Japan led the gains, surging 1.93 percent to close at 27,466.61, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong rose 1.73 percent to 19,591.43. The KOSPI Composite Index in South Korea also climbed 1.20 percent, closing at 2,416.96.

In London, the FTSE 100 gained 0.41 percent to close at 7,566.84, while the CAC 40 in France rose 0.26 percent to 7,131.12. The DAX PERFORMANCE-INDEX in Germany edged up 0.14 percent to close at 15,216.19. The ESTX 50 PR.EUR also climbed 0.34 percent, closing at 4,195.70, while the BEL 20 in Belgium dropped 0.52 percent to 3,666.07.

In Asia-Pacific, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.87 percent to close at 7,015.60, while the IDX Composite in Indonesia rose 1.20 percent to 6,691.61. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI in Malaysia edged up 0.39 percent to close at 1,412.04, while the S&P/NZX 50 INDEX GROSS in New Zealand gained 0.48 percent to close at 11,586.93.

In Russia, the MOEX Russia Index dropped 0.19 percent to close at 2,222.51, while the S&P BSE SENSEX in India gained 0.24 percent to close at 58,214.59. The STI Index in Singapore rose 1.48 percent to close at 3,220.98.

Meanwhile, the CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the stock market's expectation of volatility, dropped 0.56 percent to close at 21.26.

Overall, it was a positive day for global stock markets, with several indices reaching new record highs amid a generally optimistic outlook. However, some markets saw declines, suggesting continued volatility and uncertainty in the global economy.

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