Fed officials: Stronger economy boosts chance for rate hikes

22 February, 2018, 09:30 | Author: Regina Silva

Kaplan also had some cautionary words about the Trump administration's recent tax overhaul, which he said would help lift US economic growth to 2.5 percent to 2.75 percent this year, pushing the USA unemployment rate, now at 4.1 percent, down to 3.6 percent by the end of 2018.

Devon Energy slid 11.8 percent after the energy company disclosed a smaller-than-expected profit and 2018 forecast that raised concerns with analysts.

The kiwi rose to 93.69 Australian cents and earlier touched 93.76 cents, the highest since early August previous year, from 93.31 cents yesterday. The index has bounced nearly 1 percent so far this week, after slumping 1.5 percent the previous week to its lowest level in three years. "This.is lower than we've historically been accustomed due to several structural issues" including an aging population, a growing skills gap in the work force and the projected path of USA government debt, he said. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, adding $8.65 to $114. Australia's S&P ASX 200 dipped 0.1 percent to 5,938.60. The Topix index was also lower by 1.03 percent.

Markets in China are set to resume trade after being closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Officials at the US Federal Reserve have hinted at gradual hikes in interest rates this year.

In minutes of the Fed's December meeting, fewer policymakers had expressed such confidence. Yield on the 10-year note initially fell from session highs after the release, but recovered to reach a fresh four-year high.

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The dollar-yen pair fell to a 15-month low last week, trading below 107 yen as Japanese investors repatriated cash they had freed up when USA stock fell.

Looking to the market's response following the release of the statement, both the Dollar and United States equities offered limited engagement - though the currency initially slipped (and then recovered) and stocks advanced.

The best performing index was the Nasdaq, which gained 0.5 per cent. The kiwi had fallen against the Aussie yesterday after the release of ostensibly stronger wage data but the Australian dollar subsequently dropped after figures showed the seasonally adjusted estimate for total construction work done fell 19 per cent in the December quarter.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.90 percent. It rose 14.6 percent year on year to 976 million Australian dollars ($761.2 million), while statutory profit after tax increased almost 18 percent to $607 million Australian dollars.

"Every part of the business pulled its weight", Joyce said.

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