June 14 New York

Pinestone Investments

The DJIA rose by 46.09 points to 21374.56 while the S&P 500 Index fell by 2.43 points to 2437.92.  The Nasdaq Composite Index declined by 25.477 points to 6194.892.  The yield of 10-year treasury settled at 2.126% while the rate of the U.S. dollar to the yen was 109.58.  WTI crude futures fell by 3.72 percent to settle at $44.73 a barrel.  The Federal Reserve raised its short-term interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday.  It’s third rate hike since December.  And it’s a sign that the central bank believes the U.S. economy is on solid ground.  “It reflects the progress the economy has made,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at a press conference.  In a sign of confidence, the Fed upgraded its forecast for U.S. economic growth and unemployment this year.  The Fed’s key interest rate will now hover in a range between 1% and 1.25%.  Overall, rates are still very low compared to prior decades.  The Fed also said it’s planning to start gradually selling off the assets that it had bought during and after the financial crisis to boost the economy.  The central bank’s decision comes after lots of signs that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  The unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in May, its lowest level since 2001.  The Fed put its interest rates at 0% in December 2008 to boost the collapsed housing market and bruised economy.  But with the U.S. economy much improved now, it needs less of the Fed’s monetary medicine.  This has given the fed confidence to begin selling off some of the $4.5 trillion of holdings it amassed during and after the recession.  The majority of Fed officials see at least one more rate hike this year. They meet again four more times this year – in July, September, October and December.  A broad decline in commodities dragged European equities lower, while U.S. stock futures also dropped on a report the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election may also examine President Donald Trump’s conduct. The special counsel investing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election plans to interview two top U.S. intelligence officials about whether Trump sought their help to get the FBI to stop a related investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to three people familiar with the inquiry.  Bloomberg’s commodity index fell to the lowest in more than a year as copper dropped and oil fluctuated.  The dollar advanced after the Fed raised interest rates for the second time in 2017 and Chair Janet Yellen suggested the strenth of the U.S. labor market will ultimately prevail over recent weakness in inflation.  The Bank of Japan concludes a two day meeting on Friday. While economists don’t expect any significant changes to monetary policy, they will parse the BOJ’s statement and Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s comments for clues to the outlook for inflation.  Central banks in Switzerland and Britain are also expected to discuss their policies this week.  The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose one basis point to 2.14 percent, after dropping 8.5 basis points Wednesday to 2.13 points, the lowest level since November.  WTI crude futures swung between losses and gains before falling 0.1 percent to $44.70 abarrel, extending a 3.7 percent drop in the previous session.  U.S. gasoline supplies unexpectedly rose for a second week.

Kazuhide Matsuishi

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