The Federal Reserve’s “surprisingly dovish” stance on the US economy, along with positive results from tech giant Facebook, has sparked a global stock market rally.
The Fed held rates steady and chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would be patient with hikes. In its assessment of the economy, the Fed did not make any significant changes, characterizing growth as “solid” and the job market as “strong.”
The stance was “a surprisingly dovish policy U-turn by the US central bank,” Mike van Dulken and Artjom Hatsaturjants at Accendo Markets said in a note to clients. The Fed comments, along with Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations, has helped buoy markets, they said.
Here’s the roundup as of 9.05 a.m. in London (4.05 a.m. in New York):
- US futures gained. Nasdaq futures are up 0.4% after the underlying index on Wednesday closed 2.6% higher. Futures on the Dow and S&P 500 are posting slight gains, up about 0.1% each.
- Facebook soared 11% in premarket New York trading. Facebook posted sales of about $17 billion for the quarter, a stunning 30% gain from the same period last year.
- The FTSE 100, the Dax Index and the CAC Index are all up at least 0.5%. The benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 is up about 0.2%.
- The Shanghai Composite rose 0.4%, the Hang Seng jumped 1.1%, reaching an almost 4-month high.
“The very dovish tone from the Fed is clearly supportive to risk,” said Anna Stupnytska, global economist at Fidelity International. “Remarkably,” she said, the dovish guidance and the Fed’s change of vocabulary — “adjustments” to the target range for the federal funds rate has replaced “increases” — puts “interest rate cuts back on the table.”