Major Stock Markets Rise Before Fed Rate Decision

Pressure is building on central banks to pause their monetary tightening campaign. (File)


Major stock markets mostly rose Wednesday on soothing worries over the banking sector, according to analysts.

This was helping to offset concerns over stubbornly-high inflation which is expected to see the Federal Reserve again raise US interest rates in a decision due at 1800 GMT.

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde on Wednesday said recent financial turbulence could add to “downside risks” in the eurozone.

She added in a speech that policymakers remained focused on taming sky-high inflation.

Official data Wednesday showed British inflation rising again after recent falls from a four-decade high.

The UK Consumer Prices Index jumped to 10.4 percent in February, increasing the prospect of the Bank of England also raising rates on Thursday.

This in turn lifted the pound against the dollar and euro. The greenback was up versus the yen.

Although Lagarde did not commit to further interest rate hikes for the eurozone, she said policymakers “still have ground to cover to make sure that inflation pressures are stamped out”.

Global stock markets are in gradual recovery mode, having plunged last week on the collapse of two regional US banks and the enforced buyout of Credit Suisse by its Swiss rival UBS.

With the crisis blamed on steep hikes in borrowing costs over the past year, pressure is building on central banks to pause their monetary tightening campaign.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday reiterated support for troubled lenders in the world’s biggest economy.

The downing of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank forced authorities to promise customers would not lose their cash, a move aimed at preventing a run on other firms.

“The reassurances and stability measures provided by authorities in recent days appear to be having an enduring positive effect,” noted National Australia Bank analyst Rodrigo Catril.

Regarding the Fed’s rate decision, analysts are split over whether it would announce a 25 basis-point hike or pause to ease pressure on the banking system.

A quarter-point increase would be in line with the size of the US central bank’s previous rate hike in February, and mark the ninth increase since it began tightening monetary conditions last year.

On the corporate front, Nike reported better than expected earnings in its latest quarter as strong demand helped to offset increased costs.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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