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Fed makes one more cut to rates, but that's all for now

By Lawrence Gash

US central bank says it awaits more data before further changes

The US Federal Reserve has delivered a third rate cut but is making it clear there will no more until there is better data. The news sent the dollar higher.

The policy rate was dropped by 25 basis points and the language in the Fed's monetary policy statement subtly altered.

Where the statement had said it would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion”, it now says it will “assess the appropriate path”. The Fed also says it will “continue to monitor the implications of incoming information”. The brakes are on.

The Fed has now made three cuts, principally to ease uncertainty round trade wars: July, in September and now October.

A slew of mixed earnings reports ensured that Wall Street remained becalmed, thanks to good results from General Electric, offset by disappointing figures from KFC owner YUM Brands. In US morning trading, the S&P 100 was down 0.11 per cent.

Concerns also continued about the future of a US China trade pact, after the cancellation of the APEC summit in Chile fuelled fears that it may be put on hold. Mixed US economic data added to a downbeat picture. US Treasury yields dipped ahead of the Fed announcement.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 rose slightly as investors mulled the impact of an upcoming general election as well as good news from pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, which raised profit forecasts after a boost from sales of a new shingles vaccine.

The drug giant’s shares hit a new six-year high, and the FTSE 100 closed at 7,300.78, up 0.34 per cent. The FTSE 250 closed down 0.26 per cent at 20,115.10.

In Europe, merger talks between Peugeot brand owner PSA and Fiat Chrysler boosted markets, with auto stocks leading risers, while stocks sensitive to US China relations, such as tech and commodities, declined. The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.08 per cent at 398.70.

Most Asian markets closed down, with the exception of the Bombay BSE Sensex. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.44 per cent to 26667.71 while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed at 22843.12 down 0.57 per cent.

The dollar remained steady against other major currencies as the market anticipated a rate cut from the Fed, while sterling moved slightly higher against the euro after a general election was agreed. A likely interest rate cut helped gold prices to firm slightly, with the spot price up 0.4pc

Oil prices continued to fall as US stockpiles jumped. The price has already weakened in recent months, and news of an increase in supply further undermines oil’s value. Brent crude oil futures dropped 1.04 per cent to $60.95 a barrel, while WTI crude oil futures fell 1.73 per cent to $54.58 in afternoon trading.

The world’s leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) has lost around $340 thus far standing at $9,066.81 in early evening trading GMT.

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