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USA stocks higher amid focus on possible Fed rate rise

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The pan-European benchmark settled 0.5% higher on Friday, as Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen at a closely watched speech at Jackson Hole, Wyo. said the US economy is improving, seen as a sign of confidence in economic growth world-wide. The stocks went up. According to Ryan Larson of RBC Global Asseet Management, the statement did not come as a surprise. Investors already expected that the Fed chair will give its assent and hike the interest rates soon and at an appropriate time.

Wall Street stocks were 0.7 percent higher at around 1545 GMT. A loose American monetary policy is the force in the financial markets. Japanese stocks, however, bucked the downbeat trend as the yen tumbled against the dollar (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-rockets-to-two-week-high-versus-yen-as-fed-officials-signal-rate-hikes-2016-08-29) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-rockets-to-two-week-high-versus-yen-as-fed-officials-signal-rate-hikes-2016-08-29).

Singapore was 0.8 percent lower in late trade, while Shanghai finished marginally lower. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.2 percent, or three points to touch 2,169.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index added 13 points, or 0.3%, to trade at 5,232. Bond prices and yields move in the opposite direction; and government bonds tend to sell off in the face of higher rates, which make existing bonds less appealing. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes went up 1.62 percent. 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.

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Gold whipsawed on Friday, rising as much as 1.5 percent in the immediate wake of Yellen's comments, before slipping back to end the day marginally lower. While prospects for higher rates can boost the dollar, they depress the value of precious metals that are priced in the currency.

Yellen said a pick-up in the world's top economy and an improvement in the jobs market meant "the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months".

Monday, the stock market rebounded after economic data showed that US consumer spending increased for a fourth straight month in July, partially due a strong demand for automobiles.

"Sentiment towards the USA economy was elevated on Friday following the hawkish comments from Janet Yellen which bolstered expectations over the Federal Reserve raising United States rates in 2016", FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga in an investors' note.

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