Stocks gain, dollar drops after Fed holds on rates

A gauge of global stocks gained on Wednesday and the U.S. dollar slid after the Federal Reserve repeated its pledge to keep its target interest rate near zero for years to come.

The yield on the benchmark U.S. Treasury note, whose surge has roiled markets in recent weeks, fell back after hitting its highest level since January 2020 ahead of the highly anticipated statement from the central bank.

“In our view, the combination of still low yields, very slow and gradual normalisation of policy, and the improving economic outlook, remains a positive mix for risk assets,” said Willem Sels, chief investment officer, Private Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC.

On Wall Street, major indexes moved higher, with the S&P 500 posting a record high close, after the Fed statement and news conference.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 189.42 points, or 0.58%, to 33,015.37, the S&P 500 gained 11.41 points, or 0.29%, to 3,974.12 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 53.64 points, or 0.4%, to 13,525.20.

“The Fed statement today was more optimistic than some expected, they raised their outlook for both economic growth and the labor market,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York. “The market’s view of the statement is that it was fairly optimistic.”

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.45% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.24%, after falling earlier in the session.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note, last fell 4/32 in price to yield 1.6374%, from 1.623% late on Tuesday. It touched 1.689%, its highest level since January 2020, during the session.

The U.S. dollar fell after the Fed said it does not expect to raise interest rates through all of 2023, contrary to market expectations.

In currencies trading, the dollar index fell 0.518%, with the euro up 0.66% to $1.1979.

“There’s no indication that the Fed is preparing to act on rising inflation or the stronger economy we’ve been seeing,” said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics in San Francisco.

The Russian rouble slid versus the dollar after U.S. President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will “pay a price” for efforts to meddle in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Oil slipped for a fourth day, weighed down by expectations of weaker demand in Europe and by rising U.S. crude inventories.

Brent crude settled down 39 cents, or 0.6%, at $68 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped 20 cents, or 0.3%, to end at $64.60.