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US shares rallyafter fed report

US stocks rallied on Friday, lifted by gains in technology stocks and a retreat in Treasury yields as the Federal Reserve eased concerns about the path of interest rate hikes this year.

The US central bank, looking past the recent stock market sell-off and inflation concerns, said it expected economic growth to remain steady and saw no serious risks on the horizon that might pause its planned pace of rate hikes.

Investors largely expect the Fed to raise rates three times this year, beginning with its next meeting in March, the first under new Chair Jerome Powell. Traders currently see a 95.5 percent chance of a quarter-percentage-point hike next month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 347.51 points, or 1.39 percent, to 25,309.99, the S&P 500 gained 43.34 points, or 1.60 percent, to 2,747.30 and the Nasdaq Composite added 127.30 points, or 1.77 percent, to 7,337.39.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 4.54-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.82-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 64 new highs and 57 new lows. Volume on US exchanges was 6.05 billion shares, well below the 8.38 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Pakistan stocks end lower

The KSE-100 Index ended lower after a knee-jerk reaction to media reports that Pakistan was placed on the grey-list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), with the benchmark plunging over 500 points in intra-day trading right as the afternoon session began.

While an official statement was awaited, reports citing that the global watchdog has placed Pakistan back on its terror financing watch list took toll on investors who resorted to panic selling. After a 100-point gain until the mid-session interval, the index plunged over 1.1 percent, hitting a low of 43,100 before value buying and cherry-picking brought back investors to the fold.

Overall, trading volumes rose to 244 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 190 million. Shares of 366 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 95 stocks closed higher, 246 declined while 25 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs10.07 billion. Dost Steel was the volume leader with 27.5 million shares, followed by Azgard Nine (15.6 million) and TRG (14.7 million).

Indian stocks close higher

Indian shares ended higher on Friday, tracking gains in global equities, as investors bought shares of recent underperformers such as pharma and financials. The benchmark BSE index closed up 0.95 percent at 34,142.15, ending 0.39 percent higher for the week. The broader NSE index ended 1.04 percent higher at 10,491.05, gaining 0.37 percent for the week.


Sri Lanka shares soar

Sri Lanka stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Motors, Services and Diversified Holdings sectors led shares higher. At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share gained 0.06percent.

The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were PC Pharma PLC, which rose 100.00 percent or 0.1000 points to trade at 0.2000 at the close. Meanwhile, Nuwara Eliya Hotels Co PLC added 15.68 percent or 169.40 points to end at 1250.00 and Tal Lanka Hotels PLC was up 15.58 percent or 2.40 points to 17.80 in late trade. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 81 to 68 and 63 ended unchanged. Crude oil for April delivery was down 0.57percent or 0.36 to $62.41 a barrel.

Tokyo shares gain moderately

Tokyo stocks rose moderately on Friday with investor sentiment propped up by a rebound on Wall Street, as the market regained stability.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.72 percent or 156.34 points to close at 21,892.78 while the broader Topix index was up 0.82 percent, or 14.36 points, at 1,760.53.

SE Asia shares-jittery on US rate risks

Southeast Asian stock markets were buffeted by a region-wide sell-off on Thursday as investors fretted over the possibility of a quickening in US interest rate hikes, with Vietnam and the Philippines bearing the brunt.

The US Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee voiced more confidence in the need to keep raising interest rates at its latest policy meeting, minutes released on Wednesday showed, with most believing that inflation would perk up. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 lost 0.3 percent and FTSE futures slid 0.8 percent. Asia shares ex-Japan dropped 1 percent.

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