Wall Street set to open lower after three-day rally

Wall Street set to open lower after three-day rally

Stock markets across North America closed higher as investors took comfort with signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve is in no hurry to hike interest rates.

"Even as December 2016 rate hike odds rise, the Fed is lowering is expectations for the U.S. economy and thus, reducing the estimated glide path of interest rates", he said.

Tom Porcelli, chief US economist at RBC Capital Markets, said, in order to hike in December, the Fed will have to be able to say, as it did in its statement Wednesday, that the labor market "has continued to strengthen" and the consumer has been "growing strongly". It also reduced its longer-run interest rate forecast to 2.9 per cent from 3 per cent.

The Federal Reserve left short-term interest rates unchanged and the Bank of Japan revamped its policy Wednesday, easing investors' concerns that had cropped up in recent weeks about central banks' willingness to support growth.

Fed-fund futures, used by investors to bet on central-bank policy, suggest a 57% chance of a rate increase by the Fed's December meeting, down slightly from 58% before Wednesday's announcement, according to CME Group.CME -0.32 % . US policymakers said the case for a rate hike has strengthened but held off for now, adding to speculation that it won't make a move until December. Murphy Oil rose 4.3 percent, and Transocean rose 5.6 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 98.76 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 18,392.46, the S&P 500 gained 14.06 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 2,177.18, while the Nasdaq Composite added 44.34 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 5,339.52, a record closing high.

The yield on the U.S. Treasury 10-year note fell to 1.62% on Thursday from 1.67%.

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The dollar gained 0.6% against the yen to ¥ 100.880, following a steep decline in the previous session. It fell by 0.7 percent for the week, its worst weekly performance since the week of August 18.

"Lower for longer is a good thing for the equity markets..." said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. For the year, the benchmark S&P 500 is up 6.5 per cent.

Bank of England policymaker Kristin Forbes said she did not see a case for a further interest rate cut to help Britain's economy after June's vote to leave the European Union, putting her at odds with the majority of her fellow rate-setters.

The Australian dollar edged up to an nearly two-week high of $0.7641 after new Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said interest rate cuts and a weaker currency were helping the economy, but that it was "not particularly useful" to keep cutting rates in the hope that this would eventually lift growth.

Says Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank: "It puts December more so on the table, but the data needs to be supportive". In China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.06%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.06%.

Apple rose 0.9 percent to $114.56 and was the top influence on the S&P and the Nasdaq after Nomura and RBC raised their price targets. The euro was little changed at $1.1191, after gaining 0.3 percent on Wednesday.