Stocks rise ahead of Fed, Dutch vote result

Markets surged to record highs after the Federal Reserve signalled there would be no pick-up in the pace of tightening

The index was down nearly 1 percent overall for the week and 1.2 percent since the Fed raised rates on Wednesday. The dollar slipped to 113.02 Japanese yen from 113.26 yen. It had plunged 0.11 percentage points the prior day, after the Fed threw cold water on speculation that it may get more aggressive in raising rates.

Rate rises lead to higher bond yields, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and tend to boost the dollar, in which gold is priced. Gold is viewed by many investors as a hedge against rising inflation.

"Whether folks agree or disagree with the need to hike, the key here is that the Fed has signaled to markets, and importantly USA and global businesses, that it is in control and the economy is moving as expected", said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, in a note. "But we remain fundamentally bullish on the greenback because the Fed remains the only major central bank which is actively tightening its policy".

The rate hike comes amid growing confidence that the economy is poised for more growth. The pullback came before the Federal Reserve policy decision, due at 6 p.m. London time, or 2 p.m.

The news, which came with an upbeat assessment of the world's top economy, fired United States stocks and sent the greenback tumbling in U.S. trade.

HEALTH CARE, FINANCIAL STOCKS SINK: Amgen had the biggest loss in the S&P 500 after results from a study of its cholesterol drug Repatha disappointed investors. Health care stocks were also weaker than the rest of the index, following a strong start to the year.




GO HIGHER: GoPro, which makes wearable cameras, surged 16.3% to $8.55 after it announced a cost-cutting plan and said it's sticking by its forecast for 2017 profits.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7 percent and the Hang Seng in Hon Kong added 0.1 percent.

Nevertheless, since the start of the year investors have traded French government debt at a heavier discount from ultrasafe German bonds, which means they are still distrustful of polls after last year's decision by Britain to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's victory in the USA, both of which came as a surprise.

US crude futures rose 39 cents to $49.25 per barrel, adding to a 2.4 per cent gain on Wednesday.

The central bank yesterday raised rates by a quarter point to 0.75-1.00 per cent, nodding to the continued strength in the labour market and a pickup in inflation. If it closes lower Thursday, that would be the eighth decline in the last nine days.

Following gold, silver ready flared up by Rs 1,050 to Rs 41,350 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs 1,040 to Rs 41,010 per kg.

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