Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Finance | By Laverne Griffith

European Stocks End Week at 15-Month High After Fed, Dutch Vote

European Stocks End Week at 15-Month High After Fed, Dutch Vote

It hit a five-week low on Thursday, and is down 1 per cent for the week.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen pointed to the growing faith in the economy's trajectory as the USA central bank raised rates for the second time in three months. It will be one of the most closely-watched G20 meetings for the currency market.

USD/JPY held steady at 113.25, while USD/CHF edged down 0.14% to 0.9950. The greenback remained under pressure for a third straight session after the Fed quashed hopes for a further bull run in the currency by keeping a gradual pace to its monetary tightening policy.

Earlier, the pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.4 percent, helped by energy and basic resource stocks.

GBP/USD is supported in the range of 1.2325 levels and now trading at 1.2393 levels. The Bank of England also stood pat on interest rates at 0.25%.

Ocado PLC shares (OCDO.LN) climbed 5% after the online grocery retailer said sales rose 13.1% in the 13 weeks through February 26 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ocado-sales-up-in-1st-quarter-sees-prices-rising-2017-03-14), although the company flagged signs of rising prices.

Sterling was steady at $1.2358.

The pound was 0.2 percent lower at $1.2267 after jumping 1.1 percent overnight.

USD/CAD is supported at 1.3274 levels and is trading at 1.3345 levels.

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Oil prices eased as support from a weaker dollar was offset by a stubbornly high level of United States inventories.

Oil prices rose after six sessions of declines.

Market participants were looking ahead to reports on USA industrial production and consumer sentiment due later in the day.

Markets are also keeping an eye on the Group of 20 finance leaders' meeting in Germany this weekend, where topics including protectionism, exchange rates and reforms to boost economic growth, are expected to be on the agenda. The Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.3343 to the greenback, or 75.14 USA cents, stronger than Thursday's close of C$1.3347, or 74.92 US cents.

"Real yields were pumped up ahead of the announcement in expectation of a hawkish hike, instead we got a dovish hike with no change in the forward guidance and that has led to some recovery in gold today", Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen, said.

Since August, it tried around two dozen times to take a wall a resistance between $0.7707 and $0.7778.On the data front, US factory output increased for a sixth straight month in February while consumer sentiment rebounded in early March, underscoring the economy's resilience even as growth appears to have slowed significantly in the first quarter. Platinum was up 0.8 percent at $939.60 while palladium added 0.2 percent to reach $745.50.

USA stocks dipped on Friday as bank shares fell alongside Treasury yields while Adobe helped buoy the S&P tech sector and the Nasdaq Composite. Sure, the world's largest economy has recovered enough for the Fed to start normalizing interest rates after years of near-zero levels. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last up 6/32 in price to yield 2.502 percent, from a yield of 2.524 percent late Thursday. It posted a modest gain of 0.1% Friday morning to trade at 100.41.

Earlier this week the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.25 points and signaled two more hikes this year. USA gold futures for April delivery settled up 2.2 percent at $1,227.10. Benchmark Brent settled up 1.8 percent to $51.81 a barrel.

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