NEW YORK: US stocks have rallied, lifted by gains in technology stocks and a retreat in Treasury yields as the Federal Reserve eased concerns about the path of interest rate rises in 2018.
The US central bank, looking past the recent stock market sell-off and inflation concerns, said it expected economic growth to remain steady and saw no serious risks on the horizon that might pause its planned pace of rate hikes.
Investors largely expect the Fed to raise rates three times this year, beginning with its next meeting in March, the first under new chair Jerome Powell. Traders currently see a 95.5 per cent chance of a quarter-percentage-point hike in March, according to Thomson Reuters data.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.39 per cent, to 25,309.99, the S&P 500 gained 1.60 per cent, to 2,747.30 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.77 per cent, to 7,337.39.
LONDON: European shares ended the day in positive territory after a choppy session, posting a slim weekly gain as investors digested a flurry of company results that included disappointing updates from Royal Bank of Scotland and Valeo.
RBS declined 4.8 per cent after posting its first full-year profit since 2007. Traders said the underlying result missed expectations, while the lack of an update on a settlement with the US Department of Justice for mis-selling toxic mortgage-backed securities also weighed.
Germany’s DAX closed 0.18 per cent higher at 12,483.79.
The UK’s top share index dipped on Friday after bank RBS and airline operator IAG tumbled following their results, sending the FTSE 100 to a slight weekly loss.
Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100 index closed down 0.11 per cent at 7,244 points.
A number of big, earnings-driven falls weighed on the blue chips.
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland were the biggest fallers, down 4.8 per cent and on track for their biggest one-day drop in nearly one year after the bank reported its full-year results.
IAG was another big faller, down 5.7 per cent after the British Airways operator reported annual figures which, although in line with their forecasts, showed revenue was a little light and fuel costs came in worse than expected.
TOKYO: In Asian trading overnight, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.9 per cent on Friday to add to the previous week’s 3.9 per cent gain.
It is still down more than 4 per cent in February so far, however, after global equity markets were mauled at the start of February by worries that inflation was picking up.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.7 per cent, to 21,892.78.
Hong Kong stocks rose on Friday, capping a holiday-shortened trading week, as main indexes managed to recover much of the damage done during the recent rout.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.97 per cent, to 31,267.17, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.7 per cent, to 12,735.06.
China shares extended their rebound, shrugging off Beijing’s seizure of high-flying conglomerate Anbang Insurance Group amid signs the government is once again supporting the country’s stock markets after their recent rout.
The unprecedented takeover of a major non-state company underscores how far the communist Party will go in its growing campaign to reduce dangers to the financial system after years of break-neck growth.
Anbang had violated laws and regulations which “may seriously endanger the solvency of the company”, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) said in a statement, without giving details.
Anbang,one of China’s biggest insurance conglomerates, claims 1.97 trillion yuan ($311 billion) in assets and ranks 139 on the Global Fortune 500 list.
Insurance industry insiders said they believed the move had more to do with Anbang’s behaviour than broader systemic risks.
The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.45 per cent at 4,071.09 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.63 per cent to 3,289.02 in a holiday shortened week.
Both indexes have rebounded over 7 per cent from a low hit on February 9, the depth of a rout triggered by global market turmoil.