Asian stocks mostly rise on hopes for higher US rates
Aug 30 2016 by Johnny Bowman
Wells Fargo leads the charge in the United States, as financial stocks stand to gain the most in a higher interest rate environment. The Fed Chair spoke at a Wyoming conference, where she underlined the case for raising the interest rates after the improvement of the American economy.
LONDON - Gold slid to a near five-week low on Monday after comments from top Federal Reserve officials fuelled speculation that USA interest rates would rise sooner rather than later, boosting the dollar.
THE QUOTE: "The dollar jumped after the Federal Reserve's chairperson, Janet Yellen, signaled an impending rate hike in a speech at Jackson Hole last Friday", said Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.
The unemployment rate has hovered near 5% for the past year, he noted last week.
"A much stronger U.S. dollar is causing selling pressure today", said Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank. According to Ryan Larson of RBC Global Asseet Management, the statement did not come as a surprise.
She gave no timeframe during her speech at the annual Jackson Hole symposium of global central bankers, but Fed vice chairman Stanley Fischer later said September was a possibility.
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Markets wanted to know whether Dr Yellen was also now feeling more hawkish or if she would have a more dovish tone. "It's different from others, so we don't have to do what other central banks are going to do, and in order to avoid financial excess down the road, we're going to remove just a little bit of excessive monetary accommodation", he said. "This policy divergence should be supportive for the dollar".
At 12:41 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 107.11 points, or 0.58 percent, at 18,502.51. S&P 500 futures were down 0.1 percent to 2,166.50.
Analysts said prices were also depressed by worries over the outcome of a meeting next month between OPEC and Russian Federation aimed at addressing a global supply glut. The euro fell to $1.1206 from $1.1289. The utilities sector that went up earlier in 2016 on the expectations of rates continuing to remain low, suffered the sharpest dip on August 26.
Germany's Wirecard was the top gainer, jumping 4 percent after Barclays raised its rating on the stock to "overweight" from "equal weight" and lifted its target price.
The S&P closed 0.45 percent below its record high set earlier this month. Also, some investors seem encouraged by the prospect that the Fed considers the economy strong enough to withstand another rate increase.
A report from the US Commerce Department showed consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose for the fourth straight month in July.