United States stocks mixed, still on pace for yet another winning week

Posted March 19, 2017

Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday, with the materials group leading broadbased gains as base and precious metal prices gained further ground following the Federal Reserve interest rate decision the day before. The dollar slipped to 113.02 Japanese yen from 113.26 yen.

USA stocks closed higher on Wednesday, as oil prices bounced back and the Fed took a less hawkish stance than expected.

The Fed reiterated that it expects economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in interest rates.

"Global equities are positive, albeit just, as we head towards another United States rate hike and potential for further populist, anti-immigration backlash, this time from the Netherlands", said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

After jumping almost 2 percent in the wake of the Fed meeting, the lira slipped 0.4 percent on Thursday. With rates starting from such a low base and the pace set to be so slow, it may not be fair to call these Fed moves as "hiking" or "tightening", said Rich Taylor, fixed-income client portfolio manager at American Century. Once the yield gets to 2.60 percent, he said many buyers will likely pounce given still-modest growth in the economy and inflation, which should help keep a lid on rates.

A Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York January 27, 2015.

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Also late Wednesday, the preliminary results of the general election in the Netherlands will be released, and investors are watching if Geert Wilders' far-right Party for Freedom will make a strong showing.

The S&P 500 index showed 41 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 78 new highs and 25 new lows. After the United Kingdom vote last summer to leave the European Union, investors were anxious about whether a wave of nationalism across the continent could eventually break the European union apart.

Spot gold prices were up 0.1% at $1,227.11 per ounce by 8.38am, after hitting its highest since 6 March in the previous session at $1,233.13.

But a softening of the joint draft statement's language on trade, removing a rejection of protectionism, speaks to a promised rise in US tariff barriers which has so far largely been seen as dollar-positive. If it closes lower Thursday, that would be the eighth decline in the last nine days.

Shares of Tesla rose 2.8 per cent to US$262.94 (RM1,166) after the electric carmaker said it would raise about US$1.15 billion as the company speeds up the launch of its Model 3 sedan.