Dollar falls as Powell says rates near neutral
US stock market rallied on Wednesday on dovish comments by Federal Reserve chair Powell. The S&P 500 surged 2.3% to 2743.82. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 2.5% to 25366.43. Nasdaq composite index rallied 3% to 7291.59. The dollar weakening resumed after Powell’s comment the interest rate is now “just below” estimates of a level that neither slows nor stimulates the economy: the live dollar index data show the ICE US Dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, fell 0.5% to 96.82 and is lower currently. Futures on three main US stock indexes indicate lower openings today.
FTSE 100 ends lower than other European indices
European stocks ended little changed on Wednesday. Both the EUR/USD and GBP/USD resumed climbing and are higher currently. The Stoxx Europe 600 was flat. Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.1% to 11298.88. France’s CAC 40 closed unchanged and UK’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2% to 7004.52.
Hang Seng erases most of last session gains
Asian stock indices are mixed today. Nikkei rose 0.4% to 22262.60 despite yen accelerated rise against the dollar. China’s stocks are lower: the Shanghai Composite Index is down 1.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is 1.3% lower. Australia’s All Ordinaries Index rebounded 0.6% while the Australian dollar continued climbing against the greenback.
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Brent futures prices are edging higher today after another drop Wednesday. Prices ended lower yesterday after the Energy Information Administration report that US crude stockpile rose 3.6 million barrels last week to 450.5 million, the tenth straight weekly build: the January Brent crude lost 2.4% to $58.76 a barrel on Wednesday.
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