In Asian Equity Markets stocks tracked Wall Street gains on Thursday after the U.S. central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points but sounded a less hawkish tone than some had feared, lifting investor sentiment and sending the dollar lower. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.93 percent, although trading was thin with Japanese and Korean markets closed for public holidays. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 0.77 percent in early trading, with the tech sector index adding 1.43 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also performed strongly with a 0.61 percent increase.
In Currency Markets the dollar was down on Thursday morning in Asia, recording its sharpest fall in more than a month, as investors reacted to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision that put paid to the possibility of super-size hikes. The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies edged down 0.14 percent to 102.22. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar inched up 0.03 percent to 129.12. Sterling edged down 0.13 percent to $1.2064, and swaps markets are fully pricing a 25 basis-points hike from the Bank of England later in the day.
In US Equity Markets stocks ended sharply higher on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve delivered a widely expected interest-rate hike, and the S&P 500 recorded its biggest one-day percentage gain in nearly two years. The Dow rose 2.81 percent, to 34,061.06, the S&P 500 gained 2.99 percent, to 4,300.17 and the Nasdaq Composite added 3.19 percent, to 12,964.86. Starbucks Corp rose 9.9 percent after the coffee chain saw quarterly comparable sales grow 12 percent in North America. Lyft Inc shares plummeted 30 percent amid concerns about the company’s ridership and spending.
In Commodities Markets oil prices jumped on Wednesday, as the European Union, the world’s largest trading bloc, spelled out plans to phase out imports of Russian oil, raising concerns about further market tightness as those nations hunt for adequate supply. Brent crude futures settled up 4.9 percent, to $110.14 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled at $107.81 a barrel, up 5.3 percent. Spot gold ticked 0.1 percent lower to $1,866.40 per ounce. Spot silver fell 0.2 percent to $22.52 per ounce, platinum gained 1.3 percent to $974.75 and palladium was 0.8 percent higher at $2,272.56.
In European Equity Markets stocks fell on Wednesday, weighed by disappointing earnings and investor jitters ahead of a policy decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is expected to hike rates by the most since 2000 to tame inflation. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.1 percent, and most regional indexes were also in negative territory. Retailers led sectoral losses in Europe, with Britain’s online fashion retailer Boohoo plunging 12.4 percent after freight and logistics cost inflation led to a 28 percent fall in its annual core earnings.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly on Wednesday in choppy trading after the Federal Reserve raised benchmark interest rates half a percentage point to control soaring inflation, as expected, and said it would begin reducing its balance sheet next month. U.S. two-year yields were last up 2 basis points at 2.7848 percent after rising to 2.844 percent, the highest since November 2018 and not far from the psychologically important 3 percent level. U.S. 10-year yields rose 3 bps to 3.009 percent, after hitting 3.011 percent, the highest since December 2018.