Monday, 26 June, 2017

Stocks rise with eyes on Fed, Dutch vote

Brent Daily A busy week ahead for markets as Fed ponders rate rise
Mae Harvey | 18 March, 2017, 01:39

Overall, "it's a key week for global risk appetite, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, where a rate hike is a virtual certainty, is likely to set the tone for risky assets like stocks in the coming weeks", said Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, in a note. The Australian dollar was among the biggest currency gainers Wednesday as the first US rate hike of 2017 didn't alter officials' expectations that the central bank will tighten a total of three times this year.

Prices on benchmark 10-year Treasuries rose 17/32 to yield 2.533 percent, from 2.595 percent late on Tuesday.

While Fed officials signalled two more rate increases by the end of the year, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at a news conference after the decision was announced that future rate increases would be "gradual". Investors anticipated the tightening and Treasury yields had climbed with the dollar on speculation the central bank might signal a faster pace of tightening.

The kiwi dollar fell to 69.73USc as at 8:30am in Wellington from 69.91USc late yesterday.

"It is a wait-and-see mood that is mostly prevailing in the market ahead of the Fed's decision", said Shin Kadota, senior currency strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

Read our Markets Live blog here.

The common currency was boosted as exit polls showed the Netherlands' centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte roundly saw off a challenge by anti-Islam, anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election on Wednesday, alleviating concerns towards Holland opting to leave the EU.

European shares dipped on Tuesday, weighed down by bank and energy stocks, as well as uncertainty over elections in the Netherlands and a US interest rate decision.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travels to Japan, South Korea and China in his first visit to the region since taking office.

Google Has a New Algorithm That Shrinks JPEGs by 35%
In other words, given two images of identical size, the Google-compressed JPEG looks nicer. Google describes the slower compression process as a "worthy tradeoff".

Secretary of State Tillerson used e-mail alias as Exxon CEO
Use of the email alias was seized upon by environmentalists on Tuesday, who said it revealed a pattern of deception. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says that while U.S.

Trump budget goes big on border wall, short on agents
Funding for the government runs out in late April. "And so now Donald Trump wants the American taxpayers to pay for it". Building a wall - and having Mexico pay for it - was a regularly repeated campaign pledge of Trump's.

Later Thursday, President Donald Trump will make his formal 2018 budget request to Congress, although aspects of the budget proposal are already circulating.

The Dow rose half a percent, the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7% and the S&P 500 added 0.8%.

Futures on Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.6 percent, while contracts on South Korea's Kospi were up 1.1%.

The Aussie was down 0.3 percent at $0.7687 following its overnight surge of 2 percent to a three-week high of $0.7720.

The dollar, which went as high as 115.195 yen earlier this week, last stood at 113.420.

The US unit bought 113.23 yen Thursday, down from Wednesday in NY and well off the levels above 115 yen touched earlier this week.

The Australian dollar held most of its 2 percent gain from Wednesday and was at 77.06 USA cents.

USA 30-year Treasury bond yields, which are sensitive to inflation expectations, were last down about 3 basis points at 3.167 percent, from 3.192 percent late Monday. Similar Australian yields fell 9 basis points to 2.83 percent.

Oil futures extended gains after climbing for the first time in a week on Wednesday on data showing a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude inventories.

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