World stocks mostly rise, dollar volatile after Fed

AP News
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Posted: Mar 19, 2015 8:21 AM
World stocks mostly rise, dollar volatile after Fed

TOKYO (AP) — Global stocks mostly rose on Thursday and the dollar was volatile after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it would lift interest rates more slowly than expected.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent to 5,039.11 while Germany's DAX was roughly flat at 11,911.90. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent to 6,954.52. U.S. shares were set for modest losses after gains the previous day. Dow and S&P 500 futures both slipped 0.1 percent.

THE FED EFFECT: The statement from Fed Chair Janet Yellen after the central bank's policy meeting took some investors by surprise, suggesting rates are now expected to head higher but at a slower pace than previously thought. That set off a rally on Wall Street Wednesday. The Fed has held its benchmark interest rate close to zero since 2008. Low rates make it easier for businesses and consumers to borrow and spend, but also tend to weaken that nation's currency.

ANALYST TAKE: "The big surprise yesterday was that the Fed acknowledged the negative impact stemming from the strong U.S. dollar," said Chang Wei Liang of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was volatile. It slumped when the Fed signaled that rate increases would be slower but later recovered some ground. The euro rallied as high as $1.10 against the dollar, from $1.06 before the Fed statement, only to slide back to $1.0684 by midday in Europe on Thursday. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was trading at 120.74 yen, up from 120.23 yen.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4 percent to 19,476.56. A weak yen has been a boon for the nation's giant exporters. South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,037.89 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.5 percent to 24,468.89. Other Asian bourses were also higher, including Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude sank $1.57 to $43.09 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, dipped $1.21 to $54.70 a barrel.

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