Saturday 17 November 2018

Markets flat as Fed holds steady

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters

Reuters

The US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady yesterday and said ongoing strong job gains and household spending had kept the economy on track.

"The labour market has continued to strengthen and ... economic activity has been rising at a strong rate," the Fed said in its latest policy statement, leaving intact its plans to continue raising rates gradually.

The statement reflected little change in the US central bank's outlook for the economy since the last policy meeting in September, with inflation remaining near its 2pc target, unemployment falling and risks to the economic outlook appearing to be "roughly balanced".

Policymakers, however, noted that business investment had "moderated from its rapid pace earlier in the year," a possible drag on future economic growth.

Financial markets had expected the Fed to hold its benchmark overnight lending rate steady in the current range of 2pc to 2.25pc. The Fed has raised rates three times this year and is widely expected to do so again in December.

European shares were flat to slightly higher on Thursday, paring gains as a rally following the US midterm elections sputtered while strong results from SocGen and Commerzbank and France's Sodexo soothed concerns about corporate earnings.

The Iseq in Dublin was down 0.80pc at the close of business at 6,202.60. Shares in Malin finished the day up more than 5pc, after the listed investor said it may return cash to shareholders based on performance. Declines included Aryzta, down more than 18pc in another tough trading day and CRH, down 1.7pc.

Irish Independent

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