October 28, 2015 / 2:25 AM / 2 years ago

Equities fall, bond yields rise after hawkish Fed statement

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. bond yields rose and stocks sold off after a U.S. Federal Reserve statement following its two-day policy meeting made it clear that the world’s largest central bank still sees a December rate increase as a possibility.

The Fed kept U.S. rates at their long-term record lows, but what stood out in the statement was a specific reference to conditions necessary “to raise the target range at its next meeting.” It said it will assess progress toward maximum employment and two percent inflation, same as its September statement, but the reference to a particular meeting is rare for the Fed.

Wall Street gave up most of its gains in the wake of the statement, while bond yields rose, particularly in the short end of the yield curve, in anticipation of tighter policy.

“The statement is as expected. We knew they weren’t raising but they had to move away from dovish statement that focused on China and Asia last time and grease the skids for a December increase,” said Paul Schatz, president and chief investment officer at Heritage Capital in Woodbridge, Connecticut.

Markets currently see around a 47 percent chance it will raise rates this year, and the Fed has made it clear that the data will determine the policy. Still, markets took a more hawkish view of the Fed’s statement.

The two-year Treasury note fell 5/32 of a point to boost its yield to 0.72 percent, its highest in a month. Five- and three-year yields also hit one-month highs. The dollar rallied more than 1 percent against the euro.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 15.76 points, or 0.09 percent, to 17,597.19, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.05 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,068.94 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 9.40 points, or 0.19 percent, to 5,039.54.

The dollar index .DXY was close to a 2-1/2-month high at 96.61 as the ECB’s easing hints kept the euro pinned at $1.1080 and the yen barely budged at 120.50 yen to the dollar. FRX

Oil rebounded from earlier losses after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed less stockpiling of resources than some feared. Brent gained 4.6 percent to $48.97 a barrel while U.S. crude gained 5.8 percent to $45.87 a barrel.

European shares .FTEU3 gained 1.1 percent.

ECB SIGNAL

Sweden’s Riksbank was the latest central bank to boost stimulus through monetary policy, adding another $7.6 billion to its asset-buying program.

The move underscored just how much the Fed would be going against the flow if it raised rates, and stands as the first reaction to what looks set to be another increase in stimulus from the European Central Bank in December.

The move sent Sweden’s 10-year government bond yields to two-month lows and pushed Stockholm’s stock market .OMXS30 toward a two-month high. The crown also briefly hit a two-month low against the euro before a rebound.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.9 percent as Shanghai stocks .SSEC lost 1.7 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng .HSI fell 0.8 percent and Indonesia’s .JKSE dropped 1.4 percent.

Tokyo’s Nikkei .N225 rose 0.6 percent on bargain hunting following the previous day’s fall.

Additional reporting by Tariro Mzezawa in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Christian Plumb

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