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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Global equities fall, dollar rises after strong U.S. data, rate hikes



Global equity markets and the U.S. dollar gained on Thursday following news of stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth despite consecutive interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank.


U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.4% in the second quarter, Commerce Department data on Thursday showed, beating estimates from economists polled by Reuters and dampening concerns of a recession due to the Fed’s aggressive rate-tightening cycle. A Labor Department report also beat expectations as fewer people sought to claim unemployment benefits, indicating labor market resilience.


The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in nearly 50 countries, was up 0.53% after hitting its highest level since April last year.


The Fed on Wednesday delivered its 11th consecutive rate hike, raising its benchmark policy rate by 25 basis points to a 5.25%-5.50% range.


The European Central Bank followed on Thursday with a 25 basis point hike, its ninth increase in a row, taking its main reference rate to 3.75% to contain high consumer prices.


“Because there’s no risk in the market in the near term and everything looks so positive, everybody thinks this is going to be a soft landing and that’s what is being priced in the market currently,” said Aash Shah, senior portfolio manager at Summit Global Investments in Utah.


The dollar rose against a basket of its major peers after the rate hikes. The dollar index rose 0.574%, while the euro reversed gains to drop 0.78% to $1.0997 after ECB President Christine Lagarde told a press conference the central bank was determined to cool high consumer prices.


On Wall Street, the three main indexes firmed, with the Dow and benchmark S&P 500 on track for their 14th straight daily gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.19% to 35,586.45, the S&P 500 gained 0.58% to 4,593.19 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.13% to 14,287.49.


European stocks added 1.35%, with Italian and Spanish shares hitting their highest levels since 2008 and 2020 respectively.


“We are not out of the woods yet. There’s a lot of euphoria because everyone thinks we’re not going to have a recession but lots of indicators still point towards a recession, including the yield curve,” Shah added.


Global equity markets and the U.S. dollar gained on Thursday following news of stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth despite consecutive interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank.


U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.4% in the second quarter, Commerce Department data on Thursday showed, beating estimates from economists polled by Reuters and dampening concerns of a recession due to the Fed’s aggressive rate-tightening cycle. A Labor Department report also beat expectations as fewer people sought to claim unemployment benefits, indicating labor market resilience.


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