By Lewis Krauskopf
NEWYORK (Reuters) – World stock markets surged on Thursday, with the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 hitting a record high, while the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell below 2% as investors digested a signal from the Federal Reserve of potential U.S. interest rate cuts as soon as its next meeting.
The U.S. dollar also weakened after the Fed – the U.S. central bank – on Wednesday indicated a marked shift in sentiment even as it left its benchmark rate unchanged for now.
“We have obviously morphed into the Fed taking the pole position as far what’s driving the market right now, both domestically and on a global basis as well,” said Mike Mullaney, director of global markets research at Boston Partners.
“It’s risk-on trade again right now for the time being and I don’t see anything on a near-term basis that is going to disrupt that.”
Oil prices also surged, lifted by the Fed as well as by news that Iran shot down a U.S. military drone, raising fears of a military confrontation between Tehran and Washington.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.02%. The index hit its highest since May 1.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 203.87 points, or 0.77%, to 26,707.87, the S&P 500 gained 21.98 points, or 0.75%, to 2,948.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 65.04 points, or 0.81%, to 8,052.36.
Energy, technology and industrials were among the best-performing S&P 500 sectors.
“Cyclicals are definitely getting a big pop today,” Mullaney said.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.52%, reaching its highest since early May.
Benchmark government bond yields in the United States and Europe tumbled following the Fed’s decision, with the U.S. 10-year note yield falling below 2% for the first time in 2-1/2 years.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. notes last rose 12/32 in price to yield 1.9855%, from 2.027% late on Wednesday.
“The statement indicated the Fed no longer insists on a pause or patience, providing an open ear to doves at upcoming meetings. Also critical … acknowledgment that inflation pressures are muted,” said Jim Vogel, interest rate strategist at FTN Financial in Memphis, Tennessee.
“As difficult as it might be to imagine, rates are also free to fall further,” he added.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.46%, with the euro up 0.6% to $1.1291.
U.S. crude rose 5.73% to $56.84 per barrel and Brent was last at $64.51, up 4.35%.
(Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Tom Wilson in London; editing by Larry King and James Dalgleish)