European shares have rallied in response to the Federal Reserve sugar-coating its decision to start winding down its crisis-era stimulus measures.
So as not to spook the markets, the US central bank policymakers pledged to keep interest rates at record low levels even longer than previously signalled.
This all ends months of agonising by investors over when this would happen.
Trader Robert Halver in Frankfurt said: “So we finally know what the Fed is going to do, which means investors don’t have to worry any more. We are now dealing with facts rather than speculation. The tapering is coming in small doses. It is dovish [rather than hawkish] tapering. Buying 10 billion dollars less of bonds each month, it’s not really that bad.”
Market reaction was that this was a modest step the US economy could well withstand.
The word from Washington pushed Wall Street to a record high closing on Wednesday.
Shares in Tokyo and some other parts of Asia also posted big gains.
The dollar was up against other currencies, but not significantly.
The Fed move follows last week’s smoother-than-expected US budget agreement which should ensure there is no repeat of this year’s unsettling government shutdown.