The Business Times

US: Stocks surge while yen gains amid rumored government intervention

Published Sat, Oct 22, 2022 · 05:56 AM

Wall Street stocks surged Friday (Oct 21) to end a volatile week on a positive note while the yen jumped against the dollar in a shift traders attributed to an intervention by government authorities.

The Dow piled on nearly 750 points, or 2.5 percent, picking up momentum throughout the day following a Wall Street Journal report that said some Federal Reserve officials want to discuss slowing the pace of interest rate hikes at the November central bank meeting.

The report suggested the Fed could soon pivot from a “super aggressive stance to a less aggressive stance,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare, who also cited generally “better than feared” corporate earnings as a driver of Friday’s buoyant trading.

Earlier on, bourses in Europe and Asia finished mostly lower, although London’s FTSE advanced in spite of data showing that UK borrowing surged and retail sales slumped in September.

Markets continued to monitor the ongoing political drama in Britain following Thursday’s resignation announcement by Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Cabinet member Penny Mordaunt became the first to formally declare her candidacy, while Britain’s divisive former leader Boris Johnson received heavyweight Conservative backing to stage a comeback.

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The yen, meanwhile picked up ground against the dollar after hitting a fresh 32-year low in the latest big pullback in the wake of the Bank of Japan’s accommodative monetary policy stance compared with the Federal Reserve.

“It was an intervention,” Mazen Issa of TD Securities said of the shift.

Nikkei Asia said that the Japanese government and central bank acted in support of the yen in a report that was not officially confirmed by Japanese authorities.

Rumors of an intervention have hung over foreign exchange markets in recent days as the yen has plumbed new multi-year lows.

The latest moves by the government come a month after authorities spent about 2.8 trillion yen (then around $20 billion) on an intervention.

At a news conference Friday, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki vowed a tough response to “excessive” market moves.

“We are confronting speculators strictly,” Suzuki said. “We cannot tolerate excessive moves by speculators. We will respond appropriately while watching currency market movements with a high sense of urgency.”

Key figures around 2050 GMT

New York - Dow: Up 2.5 percent at 31,082.56 (close)

New York - S&P 500: Up 2.4 percent at 3,752.75 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: Up 2.3 percent at 10,859.72 (close)

London - FTSE 100: Up 0.4 percent at 6,969.73 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: Down 0.3 percent at 12,730.90 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: Down 0.9 percent at 6,035.69 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: Down 0.5 percent at 3,476.63 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Down 0.4 percent at 26,890.58 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Down 0.4 percent at 16,211.12 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: Up 0.1 percent at 3,038.93 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: Up 1.2 percent at US$93.50 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: Up 0.6 percent at US$85.05 per barrel

Pound/dollar: Up at $1.1258 from $1.1235 on Thursday

Dollar/yen: Down at 147.65 yen from 150.15 yen

Euro/dollar: Up at $0.9863 from $0.9786

Euro/pound: Up at 87.26 pence from 87.11 pence. AFP

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