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World stocks gain, dollar falls

Global stock indexes rose and the dollar fell to its lowest against the yen in nearly a month yesterday after the Bank of Japan overhauled its monetary policy to target interest rates and ahead of a Federal Reserve decision.

With the global economy showing few signs of rebounding and investors fretting about the limits of monetary easing by major central banks, the BOJ’s move came mostly as a welcome relief for markets.

The BOJ maintained its 0.1 per cent negative interest rate, but abandoned its base money target. Instead, it set a “yield curve control” under which it will buy long-term government bonds to keep 10-year bond yields around their current zero per cent.

The Fed was expected to announce its policy decision. Expectations of a rate increase have all but evaporated, but investors will comb the US central bank’s statement for clues about whether it will hike in coming months.

“The BOJ made some dovish comments and that has given investors an early push on the likelihood of no action from the Fed,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

US crude oil futures jump 2.5 per cent to $45.12 a barrel, while Brent crude futures go up by 1.8 per cent at $46.72

The Fed raised rates for the first time in nearly a decade in December but weak economic data and global uncertainty have prevented further rate increases.

Oil prices jumped and the S&P energy index rose 1.2 per cent, leading gains in the S&P 500.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 56.67 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 18,186.63, the S&P 500 gained 7.96 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 2,147.72 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.90 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 5,261.25.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index  was up 0.7 percent, while Europe’s STOXX 600 rose 0.5 per cent, helped by euro zone banking shares.

The dollar fell more than one per cent against the yen to 100.56 yen in early North American trading, its lowest since Aug. 26. In the bond market, US Treasury yields rose ahead of the Fed decision. The yields initially climbed on selling in bond markets worldwide following the BOJ policy reboot.

“If the Fed doesn’t move today ... the market will shift its focus to December. December is their last chance to move this year,” said Brian Edmonds, head of rates trading at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.

In commodities, oil prices extended gains after data showed U.S. crude stocks fell sharply last week. US crude futures jumped 2.5 per cent to $45.12 a barrel, while Brent crude futures  were up 1.8 per cent at $46.72.

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