NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar slid on Wednesday while Wall Street stocks rose in volatile afternoon trading after the Federal Reserve signalled it may wait until late this year to raise interest rates.
The Fed has said it would first raise rates when it deems the economy strong enough to handle it, and on Wednesday said the economy was likely strong enough to support a rate hike by the end of the year. The U.S. central bank also lowered expectations for 2015 economic growth.
Analysts are torn on whether the first rate hike in about 10 years will occur in September or December, but some took Yellen’s comments to imply it could be December.
“It’s a very cozy statement, and so far as when we do this it’s going to be gentle, we might need to keep rates low for a long time. It’s reiterating everything Janet Yellen has tried embody in the last couple of years,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market strategist at Interactive Brokers LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, .DXY sank 0.8 percent. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note US10YT=RR rose 1/32 in price, pushing the yield down to 2.3111 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 30.66 points, or 0.17 percent, to 17,935.14, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,100.4 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 9.33 points, or 0.18 percent, to 5,064.88. The S&P 500 seesawed between a loss of 0.35 percent and a gain of 0.5 percent throughout the session.
“People have been expecting a rate hike to come, and the market is ready for that. At the same time, we’re also still worried about Greece,” said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services in New York.
Investors fretted about potential fallout if Greece cannot avoid a default on IMF loans, resulting in the country leaving the euro or the European Union.
The MSCI International ACWI Price Index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.3 percent on the day.
Euro zone finance ministers are due to meet on Thursday, but there was talk of plans being put in place for another emergency summit over Greece at the weekend.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 closed down 0.5 percent. The euro EUR= rose 0.8 percent to $1.1341.
U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell 0.2 percent to $59.86, while Brent crude LCOc1 rose 0.1 percent to $63.78 per barrel. Oil trading was volatile after government data showed a surprise gasoline inventory build last week, even as production eased. [O/R]
Gold prices XAU= rose 0.4 percent, while silver XAG= rose 0.8 percent. Copper CMCU3 was down less than 0.1 percent, after falling more than 1 percent both Monday and Tuesday.
Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio