Dovish central banks set stocks on course for their best week of the year before a blockbuster US jobs report on Friday took some of the steam out of the rally. The blue-chip S&P 500 and technology focussed Nasdaq indices gained 2.3% and 4.3% respectively.
The US Federal Reserve met for the first time this year on Wednesday to decide on interest rates and markets liked what they heard. The quarter point interest rate hike to 4.75%, the highest level since September 2007, was fully priced in but Chair Jerome Powell’s subsequent press conference caused stocks to move higher. Whilst Powell stressed that there was no room for complacency on inflation, and the Fed is not yet done raising interest rates, investors were encouraged by his admission that the disinflationary process has started. Annual CPI inflation has slowed from 9.1% to 6.5% since June.
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