Global shares up after Fed says economic aid will wind down

Global shares rose Thursday, boosted by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement that it will begin winding down the extraordinary aid for the economy it has been providing since the early days of the pandemic.

France’s CAC 40 added 0.5% in early trading to 6,984.21, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.5% to 16,035.43. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.3% to 7,270.02. U.S. shares were set to drift higher, with Dow futures inching up nearly 0.1% to 36,054.00. S&P; 500 futures were also higher at 4,661.25, up 0.2%.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.9% to finish at 29,794.37. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3% to 2,983.22. Australia’s S&P;/ASX 200 edged up 0.5% to 7,428.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.8% to 25,225.19, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.8% to 3,526.87.

Analysts said the signs from the Fed continued to be dovish, as well as hawkish, reassuring global markets that interest rates weren’t going to be raised for some time.

“We got a ‘dowkish’ Fed move,” was the way RaboResearch characterized the message.

But long-term worries about Asian economies remain because of concerns there may be a sixth wave of coronavirus infections, despite growing signs of a return to normal economic activity and a freer flow of people traveling in some nations. Eyes also remain on earnings reports expected from an array of companies in Asia, including Japanese automakers and technology companies.

In a statement, the Fed said it will begin reducing its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases in the coming weeks by $15 billion a month. If that pace is maintained, the Fed could be done winding down its bond purchases as early as June. At that point, the Fed could decide to begin raising its key short-term interest rate, which affects many consumer and business loans.

The central bank reserved the right to change the rate at which it reduces the bond purchases, which have been intended to hold down long-term rates and spur borrowing and spending.

The Fed’s announcement was in line with what economists and markets expected as the central bank moves to combat inflation that now looks likely to persist longer than it did just a few months ago.

Bond yields rose broadly after the Fed’s statement. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.59% from 1.54% late Tuesday. It was trading at 1.57% shortly before the Fed released its policy statement.

The Fed’s latest statement and policy shift comes amid persistent rising inflation that has cut into corporate operations and raised prices on raw materials. It is also making finished goods more expensive, raising concerns about whether consumers will cut back on spending as prices rise.

At a news conference Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the outlook for inflation looks highly uncertain, limiting the ability of the Fed to tailor its policies in response. He suggested that inflation should slow sometime next year as supply bottlenecks ease, but that the Fed cannot be certain that it will.

The central bank and investors have also been closely monitoring the recovery in the employment market, which has been lagging the broader economic recovery. The Labor Department will release its jobs report for October on Friday.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to $81.15 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 73 cents to $82.72 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 114.10 Japanese yen from 113.98 yen. The euro cost $1.1557, down from $1.1610.

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AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.

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