Stocks Gain, Yields Pare Rise After Fed Stands Pat: Markets Wrap
Equity benchmarks headed lower in Japan, Australia and South Korea.
(Bloomberg) -- Stocks rose to record highs and yields on longer-maturity U.S. debt retreated from more than one-year highs after the Federal Reserve continued to project near-zero interest rates at least through 2023 despite rising inflation concerns.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year note retreated from its highs of the day as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that the central bank wants to see inflation moderately above 2% and said the recent move higher in yields wasn’t disorderly. The S&P 500 climbed to the highest level on record, led by the consumer discretionary, industrial and materials sectors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed at an all-time high.
“Overall, a big sigh of relief for equities since interest rates are still likely to remain near zero for an extended period, despite the massive double stimulus from the Fed and Congress,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners.
Expectations of a strong recovery from the Covid-19 slump had put an intense focus on Fed officials’ projections for interest rates displayed in their “dot plot.” The central bank raised its economic outlook.
Seven of 18 officials predicted higher rates by the end of 2023 compared with five of 17 at the December meeting, showing a slightly larger group who see an earlier start than peers to the withdrawal of ultra-easy monetary policy, according to the FOMC’s quarterly economic projections also issued Wednesday.
“The Fed was dovish relative to some fears of ‘hawkish dots’, but since we didn’t get that ‘hawkish’ outcome, stocks are having a relief move,” said Dennis DeBusschere, head of portfolio strategy at Evercore ISI. “Bottom line, the inflation/growth forecasts the Fed has along with no rate hikes for three years is a positive backdrop for risk assets.”
The yield on 30-year Treasuries had spiked to a level unseen since 2019 and the 10-year hit 1.69%. Market-implied inflation expectations were at 12-year highs. The dollar weakened versus most major peers.
Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell, and South Korean stocks retreated as Samsung Electronics Co. warned it’s grappling with the fallout from a “serious imbalance” in semiconductors globally.
WTI crude oil was little changed with the International Energy Agency saying markets aren’t on the verge of a new price supercycle. Bitcoin climbed off the lows of the day and back toward the weekend record of above $61,000.
These are some key events this week:
- Bank of England rate decision Thursday. BOE is expected to leave monetary policy unchanged.
- Bank of Japan monetary policy decision and Governor Haruhiko Kuroda briefing Friday.
These are the main moves in markets:
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