Wall Street turns negative after Fed interest rate move

European stocks still in the black as session drew to a close

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange  shortly after the opening bell on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters

 

Wall Street led global equity markets lower on Thursday a day after the US Federal Reserve’s first interest rate hike in nearly a decade, as continued pressure on oil weighed on energy-related stocks.

The long-anticipated, though modest, increase in the federal funds rate boosted the dollar to a fresh two-week high against a basket of major currencies.

Brent and US crude fell and remained near multi-year lows on oversupply concerns and strength in the dollar. The oil woes helped push US equities lower after rallying on Wednesday, with the S&P energy index down 2 per cent as the worst performing of the 10 major S&P sectors.

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“We are seeing some weakness but we are not seeing that hyperbolic fear that we have seen really inform the entire equity trading narrative as a result of crude’s collapse,” said Peter Kenny, equity market strategist at Kenny & Co , in Denver. “It is going to continue to be a variable that weighs on the market.”

European gains

Stocks in Europe gained, however, as investors took the Fed hike as a sign of confidence in the world’s largest economy.

The euro lost 0.6 per cent at $1.0848, exemplifying the diverging paths of the Fed and European Central Bank.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.6 per cent by mid afternoon after climbing to a one-week high, while Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE 100 rose between 3 to 1 per cent. The Iseq was ahead by 1.3 per cent.

“With the Fed out of the way and only a couple of trading sessions left before Christmas, we could now see a traditional end-year rally,” Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels, said.

Reuters