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Stocks climb ahead of Fed statement

Global equity markets rose yesterday, lifted by strong US and European corporate earnings, although moves were subdued before a policy statement from the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise interest rates, perhaps as early as September.

The dollar was slightly higher against major currencies .

The prevalent view has been that the Fed is ready to end its near-zero interest rate policy by year-end as the world’s biggest economy has dug out of the global downturn.

The market is looking at stock-specific earnings and is waiting for Fed Chair Janet Yellen to indicate a rate move will likely be sooner rather than later, so policy makers are not caught off guard and forced to be aggressive, said Ryan Larson, head of US trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.

“The market at this point should expect nothing less, and if she says that, they should be no more surprised than they were yesterday,” Larson said.

“That’s been well telegraphed, and I think she’ll go right down the middle of the road.”

With just over half of S&P 500 companies having reported second-quarter results, 73 per cent have been above expectations, compared with a 70 per cent beat rate over the past four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Shares of General Dynamics hit a record high, gaining 4.7 per cent, after the company said it saw a rebound in demand for its Gulfstream business jets. The shares led sector-wide rally for major aerospace stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 112.24 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 17,742.51. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 11.94 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 2,105.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.20 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 5,102.41. MSCI’s all-country world stock index rose 0.63 per cent, while the FTSEurofirst index of leading European shares rose .95 per cent.

In Europe, carmaker Peugeot reported first-half net income for the first time in four years. Oil major Total posted higher-than-expected second-quarter profits.

The dollar rose 0.23 per cent at 123.83 yen, while the euro was down 0.4 per cent at $1.1014.

Higher US Treasuries yields also supported the greenback, with the two-year yield rising to 0.708 per cent. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note fell 10/32 in price to yield 2.2877 per cent Oil prices reversed early losses and rose after weekly data showed an unexpectedly large drawdown in US crude inventories.

Data from the US Energy Information Administration showed crude stocks fell by 4.2 million barrels last week, more than twenty times analysts’ expectations for an decrease of 184,000 barrels.

Front-month Brent futures rose 60 cents to $53.90 a barrel. US crude for September delivery last traded at $49.26, up $1.28 on the day.

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