World markets poised for US Fed rate hike

Posted March 15, 2017

In Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.12 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.01 percent, China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.07 percent and India's BSE Sensex rose 1.71 percent.

The labor force participation rate, or the share of working-age Americans who are employed or at least looking for a job, increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 63%, the highest level since March 2016. For example, some online banks can offer savings yields close to 1 percent, compared to the typical yield of 0.01 percent offered on savings accounts from traditional banks, he says.

The implied probability of a Fed rate hike has jumped to almost 100 per cent after Fed Chair Yellen said that a further increase in short term interest rates was likely to be appropriate at the Fed's policy meeting on March 14 and 15 if employment and inflation continue to evolve as expected.

A United States rate hike at this point would serve as a signal that the financial markets are on track to more normal conditions after a prolonged period of abnormally low rates following the Global Financial Crisis.

That said, over the longer term, I continue to believe that the Fed will raise its policy rate more slowly than its rhetoric indicates.

A move on Wednesday of 25 basis points would increase the prime rate - which banks charge to their most-qualified borrowers - and affect credit card balances and home-equity lines of credit, but it would take longer for the mortgage market to see the full impact. Some investors may think that a quarter point increase will slow the economy. That's not happening this time.

"Based on where we're historically, the risk is falling, " Iaralov said by phone.

Airline stocks had some of the market's biggest losses after the industry canceled thousands of flights in the face of fierce snowstorms.

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Shares of Valeant plunged 10.5 percent to $10.82 after billionaire investor William Ackman said his hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, sold its entire stake in the company. It too could trigger a volatile reaction with the energy stocks most vulnerable to the downside.

The euro fell 0.4 percent on caution ahead of the Dutch vote.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said late Monday that the Republican proposal would result in 24 million more uninsured people over a decade, while trimming the federal deficit by $337 billion.

"Yields are high enough and spreads are wide enough to keep the dollar broadly supported against its major currency peers for the moment, but additional gains will likely hinge on the messaging from the Fed at the FOMC". Scotland's first minister, meanwhile, called for a referendum for Scotland to break free of the United Kingdom.

Against the yen, the dollar slipped 0.1 percent to 114.68 yen JPY= .

Gold rose $3.30 to $1,204.70 an ounce, silver rose 10 cents to $17.02 an ounce and copper rose 4 cents to $2.63 a pound.

April WTI oil was down 68 cents, or 1.4%, to settle at $47.72/bbl. As of last Wednesday, the average yield on money market accounts was 0.11 percent, unchanged from 0.10 in December 2015, according to the bank comparison website Bankrate.com.