US stocks tick up ahead of Fed minutes

New York, April 7 (IANS) US stocks traded higher in the morning session on Wednesday as Wall Street cheered over a strong rebound in oil prices while awaiting the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting.

By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 78.04 points, or 0.44 percent, to 17,681.36, Xinhua news agency reported.The S&P 500 added 13.13 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,058.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 46.47 points, or 0.96 percent, to 4,890.40.

Oil prices surged on Wednesday, with both US oil and Brent crude soaring about 5 percent around midday, after the US government reported a surprise decrease in crude inventories for last week.

US commercial crude stockpiles fell 4.9 million barrels to a total of 529.9 barrels in the previous week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, investors kept a close eye on the minutes of the US central bank’s March 15-16 meeting, which were scheduled for release later Wednesday afternoon, for hints on the future path of interest rates and any differing views from inside the Fed.

The minutes are expected to reveal a little more of the thinking prompting the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to delay in March the second rate hike of the normalisation.

On Tuesday, US stocks ended lower after wavering below the flatline in a narrow range, as investors digested a batch of mixed economic reports.

US dollar falls on Fed minutes

New York, April 7 (IANS) The US dollar decreased against most major currencies as the newly-released Federal Reserve minutes showed that many central bank policy makers expressed concerns over a global economic slowdown in their latest meeting.

In late New York trading on Wednesday, the euro rose to $1.1405 from $1.1386 in the previous session, while the dollar bought 109.60 Japanese yen, lower than 110.43 in the previous session, Xinhua news agency reported.

US stocks jump on surging oil, Fed minutes (Lead)

New York, April 7 (IANS) US stocks posted solid gains as Wall Street assessed the newly-released minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting amid a strong recovery in oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.73 points, or 0.64 percent, to 17,716.05 on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 gained 21.49 points, or 1.05 percent, to 2,066.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index leapt 76.78 points, or 1.59 percent, to 4,920.71.

According to the minutes of Fed’s March 15-16 meeting, many central bank policy makers expressed concerns over a global economic slowdown in their latest meeting.

“Participants agreed that their ongoing assessments of the data and the implications for the outlook, rather than calendar dates, would determine the timing and pace of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy,” said the minutes.

“The decision to avoid hinting at an increased possibility of a hike at the next meeting suggests the doves dominated this discussion. Still, the failure to downgrade the balance of risks suggests it was not a complete rout. The hawks still have influence,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial.

Oil prices rebounded strongly on Wednesday, with both US oil and Brent crude soaring over 5 percent, as the US government reported a surprise decrease in crude inventories for last week.

US commercial crude stockpiles fell 4.9 million barrels to a total of 529.9 barrels in the previous week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Germany’s benchmark DAX index ends higher

Frankfurt, April 7 (IANS) The benchmark DAX index at Frankfurt Stock Exchange went up and closed at 9,624. 51 points.

The economic data from China and Germany as well as the rising oil prices were positive developments, which pushed the DAX index higher on Wednesday, according to local analysts, Xinhua news agency reported.

The blue-chip DAX index went up by 61.15 points, or 0.64 percent.

Merck, a science and technology company, topped the list of risers, up by 2.67 percent. Thyssenkrupp rose by 1.93 percent. Fresenius Medical Care climbed by 1.7 percent. Henkel, which operates in business areas including chemicals,cosmetics, hygiene and surface technologies, advanced by 1.39 percent. Commerzbank added 1.32 percent.

The utilities company RWE dropped the most,down by 1.03 percent. Daimler lost 0.95 percent. Deutsche Lufthansa shrank by 0.62 percent. Linde,an industrial gas company,fell by 0.45 percent. HeidelbergCement went down by 0.41 percent.

Daimler was the most traded share of the day with a turnover of 619.11 million euros ($704.56 million).

Canadian stocks rise

Toronto, April 7 (IANS) Canada’s main stock market in Toronto worked its way into positive territory to end Wednesday trading after four days of declines, as healthcare and energy issues rose.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index gained 42.57 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 13,347.23 points, Xinhua news agency reported.

Four of the TSX index’s eight main sub-sectors were higher.

The energy group surged 3.05 percent, as oil prices jumped after industry data suggested the US government was likely to report a smaller rise in crude inventories for last week compared to market expectations for a record high.

The Canadian dollar traded higher at $0.7637, compared with Tuesday’s closing rate of $0.7601.

US dollar falls on Fed minutes (Lead)

New York, April 7 (IANS) The US dollar decreased against most major currencies as the latest Federal Reserve minutes showed that many central bank policy makers expressed concerns over a global economic slowdown in their last meeting.

In late New York trading on Wednesday, the euro rose to $1.1405 from $1.1386 of the previous session, and the British pound fell to $1.4123 from $1.4151, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Australian dollar went up to $0.7592 from $0.7530.

The dollar bought 109.60 Japanese yen, lower than 110.43 yen of the previous session. The dollar slipped to 0.9559 Swiss francs from 0.9562 Swiss francs, and it inched down to 1.3112 Canadian dollars from 1.3163 Canadian dollars.

According to the minutes from the Fed’s March monetary policy meeting released on Wednesday, “many participants expressed a view that the global economic and financial situation still posed appreciable downside risks.”

The minutes said that policymakers signalled at the meeting that they expected the central bank to raise rates twice this year but the timing of hikes were still undecided. Moreover, a great number of Fed members stressed that the bank should proceed cautiously in raising rates.

“Many participants indicated that the heightened global risks and the asymmetric ability of monetary policy to respond to them warranted caution,” the minutes stated.

Analysts said that the minutes signalled that an increase at Fed’s April meeting is practically off the table and that it lowered market expectation for a rate-hike at the first half of this year.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major peers, was down 0.20 percent at 94.440 in late trading.

Spanish stock market rises

Madrid, April 7 (IANS) The Spanish stock market index Ibex-35 rose 0.13 percent to close at 8,398.60 points, up from the 8,387.70 points of the previous session.

On Wednesday’s session, AENA shares led rises climbing 2.14 percent, followed by Abertis A, DIA, Enagas, R.E.C. and Grifols that rose 1.79 percent, 1.79 percent, 1.22 percent, 1.16 percent and 1.13 percent respectively, Xinhua news agency reported.

On the other hand, IAG shares led falls losing 3.21 percent, followed by Banco Sabadell, Mediaset, OHL, Sacyr and Acerinox that dropped 2.38 percent, 1.18 percent, 1.07 percent, 0.95 percent and 0.70 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, Spain’s risk premium closed at 140.20 points and Spain’s 10-year bond interest rate closed at 1.518 percent, both showing no big differences when compared with Tuesday.

Chinese yuan strengthens

Beijing, April 7 (IANS) The central parity rate of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, strengthened 47 basis points to 6.4707 against the US dollar on Thursday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

In China’s spot foreign exchange market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent from the central parity rate each trading day, Xinhua news agency reported.

The central parity rate of the yuan against the US dollar is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day.

Tokyo stocks open lower

Tokyo, April 7 (IANS) Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday as the US Federal Reserve’s latest policy minutes reminding investors a rate hike would not be imminent, sent the yen higher versus the greenback.

As of 9.15 a.m. (local time), the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 18.32 points, or 0.12 percent, from Wednesday to 15,697.04, Xinhua news agency reported.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange meanwhile, retreated 1.98 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,265.77.

Notable earlier decliners comprised retail, iron and steel, and insurance-linked stocks.

Chinese shares open higher

Beijing, April 7 (IANS) Chinese stocks opened higher on Thursday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 0.25 percent, at 3,058.34 points.

The smaller Shenzhen index opened 0.33 percent higher at 10,719.27 points, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, rose 0.6 percent to open at 2,310.92 points.

Weakness persists in Indian stock markets

Mumbai, April 7 (IANS) Weakness persisted in Indian stock markets on Thursday, pulling some benchmark indices down. But other Asian markets had inched up in the morning trades.

Against the previous close at 24,900.63 points, the sensitive index of the BSE opened at 24,998.79 points. Minutes after, the 30-share barometer index was trading at 24,856.11 points, down 44.52 points, or 0.18 percent.

At the National Stock Exchange, the 50-share Nifty opened at 7,630.40 points, as against the previous close at 7,614.35 points. It was subsequently ruling at 7,601.85 points, down 12.50 points, or 0.16 percent.

The Indian equity markets on Wednesday closed flat, with the Sensex up a mere 17.04 points or 0.07 percent, and the Nifty logging a gain of just 11.15 points or 0.15 percent.

“The US markets posted solid gains on Wednesday, aided by a climb in oil prices and a surge in healthcare stocks. European markets ended Wednesday’s choppy trading session with modest gains,” Angel Broking said in an analysis ahead of the opening bell.

“The markets received a boost from rising crude oil prices and the strong Chinese service sector report.”

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