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Stocks cheer dovish Fed, yen supported before BOJ decision

Asian shares and U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday after the Federal Reserve committed to maintaining accommodative monetary policy and projected a rapid jump in U.S. economic growth this year as the COVID-19 crisis eases. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.87%, while stocks in China rose 0.74%. Australia’s market bucked the trend and fell 0.73%. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 edged up by 0.7%.

Euro Stoxx 50 futures were up 0.52%, German DAX futures rose 0.75%, and FTSE futures were up 0.4%, pointing to a bright start to European trading. While inflation is expected to reach 2.4% this year, above the central bank’s 2% target, Fed Chair Jerome Powell called it a temporary surge that will not change the Fed’s pledge to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero. Long-term Treasury yields remained elevated and the yield curve steepened as bond investors chose to focus more on rising inflation expectations. The yen erased losses and government bond yields briefly rose after a media report that the Bank of Japan will agree to allow yields to trade in a wider band when it ends a two-day policy meeting on Friday.

The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Wednesday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 33,000 points for the first time, bolstered by the Fed’s strong economic forecast and Powell’s comments that it is too early to discuss tapering-off measures. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.35% to approach an all-time high. The Fed projected the U.S. economy would grow by 6.5% this year – the largest annual output growth since 1984 – thanks in part to massive federal fiscal stimulus and optimism around the success of coronavirus vaccines.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields edged up to 1.6639%, not far from the highest since January last year. The spread between two-year and 10-year U.S. yields, the most-keenly monitored part of the yield curve, rose to 155 basis points, which is the steepest since September 2015. The 10-year inflation breakeven rate hit 2.309%, which shows that inflation expectations are at the highest since January 2014.

Stocks cheer dovish Fed, yen supported before BOJ decision, Reuters, Mar 18

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