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US Stocks Rally as Rate-Hike Fears Dissipate

Highlights:

  • DJI, S&P 500 and Nasdaq rallied on Tuesday as rate-hike concerns continued to fade.
  • US dollar index rose 1.1% to 97.85.

US stocks advanced on Tuesday, as weak March nonfarm payrolls continued to ease concerns about an immediate rate-hike by the Federal Reserve.

All of the benchmark gauges rallied, as a dearth of economic data kept the markets fixated on the first quarter earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) briefly posted a triple-digit gain. It would subsequently consolidate at 17,962.34, advancing more than 80 points or 0.5 percent.

 

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The S&P 500 index advanced 5.68 points or 0.27 percent to 2,068.30. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 34 points or 0.47 percent to 4,940.33.

Stocks have now rallied for two consecutive days, as fears about an imminent rate adjustment by the Federal Reserve continued to fade. The Fed will release the minutes of its March FOMC policy meetings on Wednesday. Last month’s meetings saw a shift in the Fed’s language, as policymakers dropped the word “patient” from the official rate statement. However, the median forecast for the federal funds rate at the end of 2015 was slashed to 0.625 percent from 1.125 percent, suggesting that rate normalization would be a very slow process.

The March nonfarm payrolls report is the major catalyst behind the latest equities rally. On Friday the Labor Department said US nonfarm payrolls increased by just 126,000 in March, the first time in 14 months the economy added fewer than 200,000 jobs. The February rate was revised downward to 201,000 from 295,000.

A weak nonfarm payrolls report pressured the US dollar, which fell dramatically at the end of last week. The dollar rebounded on Tuesday, as the euro faltered amid escalating tensions between Greece and Germany over Athens’ demand for WWII reparations.

The US dollar index, a trade-weighted average of the dollar against a basket of six currencies, climbed 1.1 percent to 97.85.

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