World stock markets advanced on Tuesday. S&P 500 and Dow Industrials closed at record highs as investor optimism was buoyed by Federal Reserve Chair Jannet Yelen’s testimony to Congress. Yellen said the Fed was considering interest rate hikes on meeting-by-meeting basis and that an increase was not likely for at least the next couple of meetings. She said that the central bank is “reasonably confident” inflation is moving toward its 2% goal, indicating that inflation has surpassed the job market as the Fed’s top priority. Markets interpreted Yellen’s testimony as assurance that rate hike might not occur until the second half of the year. Shares in First Solar Inc. and Home Depot Inc. surged 10.2% and 4% respectively, leading the gains among the S&P 500 and Dow stocks. Economic reports on Tuesday indicated that US home prices rose again in December and activity in the services sector expanded in February at its fastest pace since October, but consumer confidence fell. The ICE US Dollar Index , a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six currencies, declined 0.14% to 94.4410. Today at 13:00 CET Mortgage applications for the week ended February 20 will be released by the Mortgage Bankers’ Associations in US. At 16:00 CET January New Home Sales will be published. The tentative outlook is negative. Also at 16:00 CET Janet Yellen will testify before the House Financial Services Committee.
European stocks rallied on Tuesday after the reassuring testimony of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the approval of Greek bailout extension by international creditors. The International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the euro-zone finance ministers on Tuesday approved Greece’s proposed reform measures in exchange for a four-month extension to its bailout program. Later this week the euro-zone member states are expected to sign off on the deal. The Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.6%, marking the highest close since October 2007. Germany’s DAX 30 and UK’s FTSE 100 both closed at record highs, while France’s CAC 40 recorded its highest settlement since June 2008. Greece’s Athex Composite surged 9.8%, outperforming the broader European equity market. Euro edged higher about 0.1% against the dollar. Today at 10:30 CET January Loans For House Purchases will be released by British Banker’s Association in UK. The tentative outlook is positive for the Pound.
Nikkei snapped a five day winning streak today after closing at a 15-year high in the previous session as investors took profits. Dollar is edging down against yen today following gains the previous day after Janet Yellen’s testimony.
Oil prices fell on Tuesday ahead of the official data on US inventories as the American Petroleum Institute report indicated US crude oil inventories rose by 8.9 million barrels in the week ended February 20. The build-up was bigger than anticipated. Today at 16:30 CET Crude Oil Inventories for the week ended February 20 will be released by the Energy Information Agency.
Gold prices declined on Tuesday but settled off their session low after Janet Yellen’s testimony suggested that it is not likely there will be an interest-rate hike in the next couple of meetings.
Copper prices climbed amid signs that global supplies will tighten as BHP Billiton Ltd, the world’s biggest mining company, announced on Monday it plans to cut back production, joining other miners in reducing capital expenditures.