Asian markets traded mostly lower on Thursday, ahead of the Fed’s press conference. The ASX 200 shed .5% to 4340, the Hang Seng slipped .1% to 20048, and the Shanghai Composite slumped .8% to 2110. The Nikkei rose .4% to 8995, and the Kospi ended flat after Korea’s central bank held interest rates in place.
European shares headed mostly lower, weighed down by banking shares, which slumped 2.1%. The CAC40 skidded 1.2% to 3502, the DAX dropped .5% to 7310, while the FTSE climbed .7% to 5820.
US stocks rallied in response to the Fed’s freshly announced stimulus plan, known as QE3. The Dow surged 207 points to 13540, the S&P 500 jumped 1.6% to 1460, and the Nasdaq advanced 1.3% to 3156. The Fed announced a plan to purchase $40 billion in mortgage debt a month until the jobs market improves.
Treasuries and Commodities
10-year notes ticked up 6/32 to yield 1.74%, while 30-year notes slipped 12/32 to yield 2.94%.
Crude oil gained 1.1% to 98.11, while natural gas and gasoline both fell 1.2%.
Silver spiked 4.2% to 34.69, gold rallied 2% to 1765.20, and copper gained 1.2% to 3.7365.
The Dollar fell following the announcement of the new stimulus plan. The Euro advanced .6% to 1.2981, the Australian Dollar rallied .7% to 1.0542, and the Yen gained .5% to 77.50.
PPI rose by 1.7% last month, exceeding estimates for a 1.1% increase. Weekly unemployment claims were worse than expected, rising to 382K vs. estimates of 370K.
Friday’s reports will include CPI, retail sales, industrial production, business inventories and consumer sentiment.