Hi-Tech

Global stocks steady as earnings and U.S. data eyed

Global stocks steady as earnings and U.S. data eyed

Global stock markets were shored up Thursday by suggestions from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the central bank may slow the pace of its interest rate increases if inflation remains relatively subdued.

It's premature to reach the judgment that we're not on the path to 2 percent inflation over the next couple of years.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended nearly flat, inching down 0.01% or 1.52 points to 7,936.85.

Yellen noted that while the USA labor market has continued to strengthen and while the US economy appears to be growing at a moderate pace, the inflation has continued to run lower than the Fed's 2% long-term objective.

The US economy is healthy enough for the Fed to raise rates and begin winding down its massive bond portfolio, though low inflation and a low neutral rate may leave the central bank with diminished leeway, Yellen said. She also added that she believes opioid abuse could be holding back the USA economy.

The kiwi was battered early in the week by disappointing domestic data but gained sharply toward the end of the week amid speculation the Reserve Bank may be more inclined to hike interest rates in the face of increases and bullish talk from other central banks including the Bank of Canada.

The Dow is up 117.80 points, or 0.6 percent.




Oil futures pared gains despite a bigger-than-expected decline in US crude stocks as the drawdown was not as big as reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday. It rose to 4.9385 yuan from 4.9118 yuan and traded at 56.47 pence from 56.30 pence.

Yellen will appear on Thursday before the Senate banking committee, wrapping up her final testimony to Congress as Fed chair, unless she is re-nominated by President Donald Trump.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 17.72 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,443.25.

Among oil stocks, Santos is rising 0.7 percent, while Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are advancing more than 1 percent each after crude oil prices advanced more than 1 percent overnight.

"Further steps in the monetary policy normalization process will take place in the form of another rate hike (we expect in September) and the start of the reduction of the huge Fed balance sheet (probably in December, in our view); and that this process will be gradual".

Benchmarks finished higher on Wednesday, with the Dow posting its first record close since June 19 as Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen concluded her testimony on Capitol Hill.


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