The US Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold last week for the second meeting in a row. Good news, even though the federal funds rate remains at a 22-year high. Comments from Fed Chairman Powell indicating that the market expectation of one more hike may no longer be accurate gave a boost to stocks which rallied sharply. However he did add that the committee had not yet discussed rate cuts and remains focused on whether further hikes will be needed.
The US jobs data released on Friday showed that about half as many jobs were created in October (150,000) compared to September and way below the 12-month average. The yield of the 10 year US Treasury, which had fallen after the Fed meeting, fell further on the data. With the additional boost of earnings announcements which have generally been better-than-expected, stocks rallied strongly to finish the week close to their October high.
In the UK, the Bank of England also kept interest rates on hold for a second time but Governor Andrew Bailey cautioned that even if further hikes were not needed “it is much too early to be thinking about rate cuts.”
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