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Asian Stocks Ease, Cautious Ahead of Central Bank Announcements

19 March 2017

Gold rose 0.1 percent to $1199.71 before the Fed decision.

The dollar, meanwhile, is down 0.1 percent against the Japanese yen, at 114.63 yen.

"This was the best scenario indeed, because the Fed is confident enough to hike, confident enough in the US economic performance but it also doesn't sound in the mood to take away the punch bowl". Analysts widely expect the central bank to stay put on benchmark rates but anticipate a possible hike in the late liquidity window, the facility though which it funds banks. The driver here was fairly-clear, as we saw expectations for a rate hike at the Federal Reserve's March meeting shooting-higher after a chorus of Fed-speakers gave a series of hawkish comments that finally convinced markets that rate hikes were coming sooner-rather-than-later.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust fell 0.28% to 837.06 tonnes on Thursday from 839.43 tonnes on Wednesday. Instead, they focused on the Fed's hints that monetary policy will remain loose for now.

The rate hike comes amid growing confidence that the economy is poised for more growth.

But the dollar struggled to make more progress through the European morning and waned as NY traders arrived at their desks.

The gains in technology and financial stocks helped keep the S&P in the positive territory even though seven other sectors declined.

Oil prices drop to three-months lows
The national average has already started to totter, while SC - one of the cheapest states in the USA - is holding below $2/gal. Recently, both production and exports in the USA have hit record highs of around 9 million barrels a day, respectively.

Technology stocks did better, led by Oracle, which reported stronger revenue and earnings for its latest quarter than analysts expected.

The S&P 500 index showed 41 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 78 new highs and 25 new lows.

GO HIGHER: GoPro, which makes wearable cameras, surged 16.3% to $8.55 after it announced a cost-cutting plan and said it's sticking by its forecast for 2017 profits. The euro is 0.2 percent higher at $1.0628.

Investors were also looking ahead to the Group of 20 (G20) finance leaders' meeting in Germany this weekend, where any attempt by the Trump administration to pursue protectionist policies could fuel demand for gold as a safe-haven.

Nevertheless, since the start of the year investors have traded French government debt at a heavier discount from ultrasafe German bonds, which means they are still distrustful of polls after last year's decision by Britain to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's victory in the US, both of which came as a surprise.

Investors snapped up the greenback at the start of European trade, judging it looked cheap after sharp falls following the U.S. Federal Reserve's failure to point aggressively to further rises in the official premium for holding the currency. The precious metals had lost Rs 400 in the last two days.

Asian Stocks Ease, Cautious Ahead of Central Bank Announcements