Major North American indices rise after Fed releases meeting notes


Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Published Wednesday, February 20, 2019 11:38AM EST

Last Updated Wednesday, February 20, 2019 5:07PM EST

Major North American indices advanced Wednesday on the affirmation that policy-makers would take a patient approach to future interest rate hikes.

The Federal Reserve released minutes from its two-day late January federal open market committee meeting.

“All eyes were on what it contained,” said Kathryn Del Greco, vice president and investment advisor at TD Wealth.

The minutes continued to support the view that the Fed will remain patient about its approach to interest rate hikes, she said. The release also suggested policy-makers would take a wait-and-see approach in part due to the recent government shutdown and ongoing trade negotiations between China and the U.S.

“There’s no new news in the details of the minutes,” she said, which offered a stabilizing factor to the marketplace. “There was no surprises that could disrupt the market.”

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 93.80 points to 16,031.24.

In New York, all three major indices advanced. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 63.12 points to 25,594.44. The S&P 500 index moved up 4.94 points to 2,784.70, while the Nasdaq composite inched 2.30 points higher to 7,489.07.

The Fed minutes also helped boost the loonie. The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 75.94 cents US compared with an average of 75.54 cents US on Tuesday.

The Fed’s patient stance means the differential between Canada’s interest rates and those south of the border is not expected to widen, said Del Greco, resulting in a strengthening Canadian dollar.

In commodity markets, the April crude contract rose 71 cents to US$57.16 per barrel and the April natural gas contract dropped about three cents to roughly US$2.67 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract advanced US$3.10 to US$1,347.90 an ounce and the March copper contract gained about five cents to US$2.92 a pound.

Source: CTVNews

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