Business

A Rare Team up of Economists with the Federal Reserve's Outlooks

A Rare Team up of Economists with the Federal Reserve's Outlooks

S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.09 percent, with 81,663 contracts traded.

Five-year variable-rate mortgages are available at rates as low as prime minus 0.80% (1.90% today) for high-ratio buyers, and at rates as low as prime minus 0.60% (2.10% today) for low-ratio buyers.

Valeant was down 8.6 per cent to $14.81 in early trading.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has most investors convinced that it will raise its policy rate at its meeting this Wednesday (Fed futures prices are now giving an 88.6% probability to a 0.25% Fed policy-rate rise).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 44.11 points (0.21 per cent) to close the session at 20,837.37.

Among index heavyweights, BHP added 0.85 per cent, South32 gained 2.9 per cent and Fortescue rose 1.5 per cent, while Whitehaven Coal rallied 4.6 per cent.

On Tuesday, Citi upgraded its USA rate forecast from two to three rises this year, with further increases expected in June and September. There's also been a surge in consumer and business sentiment, which comes from President Trump's plan to cut taxes and regulations and boost federal spending.

"With a busy calendar of geopolitical events coming up, in particular across the euro zone, investors could be seen to be taking some risk off the table with several potentially volatile events lined up", Charles Hanover Investments partner Dafydd Davies said.

The Federal Reserve raised the base interest rate by a quarter of a percent in December a year ago and is expected to follow with a further rate rise on Wednesday.

Washington's Sidney Jones carted off with left leg injury at pro day
Some really bad news out of Washington's pro day on Saturday. The cornerback was participating in the Huskies' pro day.

Japanese shares fell from a 15-month high as the dollar fell against the yen ahead of this week's BoJ and Federal Reserve monetary policy meetings. The new upper range if it raises further would be 0.75-one per cent.

If the economy continues to outperform the central bank's expectations, "I think the Fed would likely signal a fourth rate hike" at a later date, Sweet said in a telephone interview.

"That would be dollar-positive".

Turbulence could come from the foreign exchange markets if the dollar rises following a slump in the Turkish lira, Indonesian rupiah, Mexican peso or other developing world currency.

Petroleum-linked shares fell, with Chevron losing 1.2 per cent and Halliburton 3.2 per cent.

Retail sector employment was weakest of all sectors with 26,000 jobs lost in the month, the biggest decline since December 2012, after a gain of 39,900 jobs in January. European stocks also closed moderately higher. The central bank has decided that the USA government will pay banks a rate at the upper range of the federal funds rate of 0.75 percent.

Traders cited a slight easing of concern over the Dutch election after a poll on Monday showed Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservatives increasing their lead over nationalist Geert Wilders's Party for Freedom (PVV), compared with the pollster's previous survey.

Traders hiked their bets after a report from the ADP Research Institute last week showed that the USA economy added 298,000 private payrolls in February, the highest monthly gain since January 2006. Following the last policy rate hike, Saudi Arabia chose to keep the repo rate unchanged in a move to ensure that liquidity in the banking sector was still comfortable, and to mitigate interbank lending rates from steeply rising.


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