Global shares fall after US Fed chief says he's optimistic

Even though Powell doesn't have the usual government or academic pedigree of recent Fed chairs, he is plugged into the Federal Reserve culture.

Pending homes sales dropped -4.7% month on month in January, down from 0.5% in December and significantly short of the 0.5% forecast. Wages finally picked up in January, growing at the fastest pace in nine years. It had only four such days past year. "We have seen continuing strength from the labour market, and we have seen some data which will add some confidence to my view that inflation is moving up to target, gradually reducing monetary policy accommodation will sustain a strong labour market whilst fostering a return of inflation to 2%".

This year, the dollar index is still down 1.5 percent, pursued by suspicions that the Trump administration prefers a weaker dollar to fix its ballooning trade deficit. If he does the latter then we could well see further gains for the U.S. dollar and increased pressure on stock markets.

"I think our view - my personal view - would be that there will be a meaningful increment to demand, at least for the next couple of years, from the combination of those two things", he said. "I would have thought you would have seen more wage increases by this point", Powell said. "The robust job market should continue to support growth in household incomes and consumer spending, solid economic growth among our trading partners should lead to further gains in US exports, and upbeat business sentiment and strong sales growth will likely continue to boost business investment". "And we've seen fiscal policy become more stimulative".

Gold fell 0.5% on Thursday, extending losses for a third day after comments from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell this week shored up the expectation for further increases to United States interest rates and held the dollar near a five-week peak. For the most up-to-date TD Bank Group analysis of major economic reports, head to TD Economics See below for disclaimer regarding this report. A growth figure matching or exceeding market expectations could support the prospects of higher rates, consequently boosting the dollar further.

He added: "There's no evidence the economy is now overheating". And he talked up inflation and economic overheating as the main worries for monetary policy.

With US treasury yields trading slightly lower back below 2.9, the dollar could struggle to rally much further.

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ unveiled: Nicer camera, static design, higher price
The 2018 version of Samsung's flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus , are here. Both phones have the same 8-megapixel f/1.7 autofocus front camera as last year's models.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,717.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 11/32 in price to push their yield down to 2.8679 percent.

Indexes had been bouncing between modest gains and losses earlier in the day, until Trump told industry executives around midday that they'll "have protection for the first time in a long while" and that he's planning to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports next week. For illustrative purposes only.

It remains below 2%, the level the Fed considers healthy for the economy.

With the focus on Powell's congressional testimony, traders largely shrugged off a mixed batch of economic data.

"The old adage that the markets dislike uncertainty applies to the actions of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve Board chair", said Robert Johnson, president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

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