Stocks hold gains after Fed minutes; dollar down

Wed Jan 4, 2017 4:34pm EST
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By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock indexes around the world gained on Wednesday, bolstered by upbeat global economic data and minutes from the Federal Reserve's December meeting, which showed policymakers thought the U.S. economy could grow more quickly because of fiscal stimulus under the incoming Trump administration.

The dollar retreated from a 14-year high against a basket of currencies, briefly hitting a session low, while U.S. Treasury debt yields were flat to slightly lower in choppy trading after the release of the minutes.

The minutes showed how broadly views within the Fed are shifting in response to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's promises of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation.

MSCI's world index, which tracks shares in 46 countries, rose 0.89 percent to a three-week high and was last up 0.85 percent.

The index found support from a batch of rosy economic reports from Europe, and got a boost from a second day of strength in U.S. stocks.

"Clearly, some of the members on the (Fed policy) committee are taking a look at proposed fiscal changes, whether that's tax cuts or infrastructure spending," said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Cornerstone Financial Partners.

U.S. stocks have surged over the past two months on expectations that Trump will stimulate the economy with tax cuts and infrastructure spending, and eliminate regulations in the financial industry.

"It's confirmation of what people were already expecting," Zaccarelli said.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 4, 2017.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson