Fed's Jerome Powell says trade barriers threaten wages and growth

Fed's Jerome Powell says trade barriers threaten wages and growth

The dollar rose above ¥113 in early trading, carrying over its strength from overnight trading overseas, where the greenback attracted purchases after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated in his congressional testimony Tuesday that the Fed would maintain its policy of gradually increasing interest rates.

Elsewhere in Canada, the Canadian Dollar rose against its U.S. counterpart to gain 0.42 percent to trade higher at 1.31899 USDCAD at the close, boosted by a stronger U.S. Dollar.

Fears about an all-out China-US trade war continue to rattle investors, with both sides lodging counter-complaints at the World Trade Organization after recently imposing and threatening further tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods.

UnitedHealth Group Inc weighed the most heavily on the Dow, its shares down 2.6 percent as the largest USA health insurer reported higher-than-expected quarterly medical costs.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Powell said in congressional testimony he believed the United States was on course for years more of steady growth, and he carefully played down the risks to the usa economy of an escalating trade conflict.

Copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.1 percent at $6,255 a tonne amid low stockpiles.

Tokyo rose one percent on the back of a cheaper yen as the dollar strengthened following Powell's upbeat view of the USA economy.

Pres. Trump, Melania Trump mourn fallen Secret Service agent
The service said Remagen "exemplified the core values of the Secret Service - Justice, Duty, Courage, Honesty and Loyalty". The agent, who had 19 years' experience, collapsed while he was working in Scotland during the U.S.

The U.S. Treasury yield curve hit its flattest in over a decade as Powell's upbeat economic view supported more rate hikes, with 2-year yields climbed to their highest in almost a decade. It signaled last month that it expected two more hikes this year.

"Currency weaknesses are resulting in outperformance for European indices against their USA counterparts", Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, said. Year-on-year, consumer prices rose by 1.5%, falling short of a forecasted 1.6%, while coming in ahead of the 1 quarter's 1.1%.

Johnson & Johnson led the healthcare sector's 0.5 percent advance, rising 3.5 percent after beating analysts' profit and revenue estimates. The dollar on Wednesday rallied to as high as 113.14 against the yen, its strongest since January 9.

With no local data today, investors will watch for Australian employment which may show a softer labour market across the Tasman.

The U.K. currency was dragged down the previous day on weak inflation data and political turmoil related to Britain's plans to leave the European Union.

The pound traded at $1.3023, after hitting a 10-month low of $1.3010 on Wednesday.

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