Banks lift stocks, USA yields climb following data

Posted February 18, 2017

Congress should focus on policies aimed at improving the productivity of the US economy rather than increasing short-term growth, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday.

10-year +5.4 bps @ 2.490%.

U.S. stocks were set to open slightly lower on Wednesday, after a recent spate of record highs, as investors assessed upbeat economic data that strengthened the prospect of an interest rate hike. According to the Commerce Department's figures, retail sales rose more than expectations in January, increasing 0.4%, above the 0.1% gain economists expected.

Yellen was nevertheless unequivocal on the impact of limiting immigration to the U.S.

Fourth quarter earnings were C$697 million, or C$1.21 per share, compared with a loss of C$459 million or C$0.80 per share in the same period past year.

3-year +4.6 bps @ 1.535%. The index jumped to 18.7 in February from 6.5 last month, the highest reading in more than two years.

With rate hikes around the corner, investing in banks, insurance and brokerage houses will be judicious as the possibility of an increase in rates bodes well for these sectors.

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It would be "unwise" to wait too long to raise interest rates again, the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Tuesday.

As a result, we think the Fed may come to increasingly recognize that it has been behind the curve during this hiking cycle and markets may not be fully appreciating the potential for an acceleration in rate hiking. Lockhart added, that "I don't really see compelling reasons to move ahead in March".

The Fed raised its benchmark federal-funds rate in December to a range between 0.5% and 0.75%, and penciled in three quarter-percentage point increases this year to prevent the economy from overheating as it strengthens.

The risks surrounding Britain's unexpected decision in June to vote to leave the European Union (EU) and, more importantly, the upset victory of Donald Trump in the USA presidential election in November contributed to the Fed's decision to wait another year to increase rates for a second time.

"At the upcoming meetings, the Fed would depend heavily on USA economic data to determine if the labor market continues to strengthen and inflation is moving up to the central bank's 2% target", Yellen said.

Yellen also spoke of considerable uncertainty over economic policy under the Trump administration: "Among the sources of uncertainty are possible changes in United States fiscal and other policies, the future path of productivity growth and developments overseas".