Canadian Underwriter

U.S. Federal Reserve raises benchmark interest rate 0.25 points

March 15, 2017   by THE CANADIAN PRESS

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TORONTO – Stock indexes in Toronto and New York surged, while the loonie rose nearly a full U.S. cent, after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time in three months.

As widely expected, the central bank hiked its key short-term rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.75 to one per cent, a move prompted by solid signs of a strengthening U.S. economy.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index gained 141.30 points, or nearly one per cent, at 15,520.91, as gold, materials and metals stocks led advancers.

The Canadian dollar climbed 0.99 of a U.S. cent at 75.15 cents US, amid a softening greenback and higher crude prices. The April crude contract was up $1.14 at US$48.86 per barrel after being in negative territory for seven sessions in a row.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 112.73 points to 20,950.10, the S&P 500 index rose 19.81 points to 2,385.26, and the Nasdaq composite index added 43.23 points at 5,900.05.

In other commodities, the April gold contract lost $1.90 at US$1,200.70 an ounce, May copper was up two cents to US$2.66 a pound, and April natural gas rose four cents at US$2.99 per mmBTU.

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