Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Fed's Yellen: Further Gradual Interest Rates Increases Likely Warranted

Fed's Yellen: Further Gradual Interest Rates Increases Likely Warranted

US equities and stock exchange traded funds climbed Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairwomen Janet Yellen maintained a slow-and-steady monetary policy outlook.

The testimony depicted an economy that, while growing slowly, continued to add jobs, benefited from steady household consumption and a recent jump in business investment.

Inflation was being carefully monitored, although the recent dip was due to unusual price declines for particular items.

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"It was a little bit more dovish than most had thought", said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.

"Yellen highlighted inflation uncertainty at a time when the doves of the board have increasingly started questioning about possibly stalling the tightening process until inflation is closer to target", said Paresh Upadhyaya, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer in Boston.

Against the yen, the greenback was 0.64 percent lower at 113.19 yen following a decline in short-term US interest rates after Yellen's testimony.

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The Fed still feels the economy needs loose - or accommodative - monetary policy, so a lower neutral rate may mean fewer rate hikes. It had hit a record of 21580.79.

The Kospi advanced 0.17 percent to trade above the 2,410 level, making gains for a second-straight day after closing at a record level in the last session. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Indexedged up 0.01 percent to hold near two-year highs. Analysts are now holding a 55 percent expectation for a rate hike in December while the expectation for a September rate hike which was at one point highly anticipated is now under 10 percent.

Investors will be keeping an eye on second-quarter earnings reports on Friday from big us banks including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. The Shanghai Composite slid 0.14 percent and the Shenzhen Composite slid 0.204 percent. The stock was among the biggest boosts on the Nasdaq.

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