'Buy Bitcoin' Sign Raised as Fed Chair Janet Yellen Testifies Before Congress

Fed Chair Yellen Points to Uncertainty of Inflation

The US dollar was weaker on Thursday as investors continued to mull over a dovish testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, while the pound got a boost from Bank of England policymaker Ian McCafferty.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.90 percent while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares rose 1.64 percent and emerging market stocks rose 1.10 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rallied 0.7% and 1.1%, respectively.

According to a senior macro strategist at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto, Bipan Rai, "Yellen veered slightly in the dovish direction, which makes sense given the soft inflation readings of late", and "That implies the United States dollars should continue to trade defensively while US 10-year yields will likely find it hard to break above 2.40 percent near term".

Yellen and her colleagues have said the Fed would begin winding down its portfolio of assets this year, but haven't specified when it would start.

The report on the economy, including jobs, inflation, exports and consumer spending, was upbeat.

If progress on inflation stalls, "they are more likely to initiate a longer pause in the rate hike cycle", said Michael Gapen, chief USA economist at Barclays Capital in NY.

More news: China trading more with North Korea but buying less coal

The Dow is up 117.80 points, or 0.6 percent.

The CPI, in particular, will garner interest because "if you take Yellen at her word the Fed is starting to second guess itself as to whether recent weakness is transitory", said ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Phil Borkin.

US crude rose 1.02 percent to $45.50 per barrel and Brent was last at $47.80, up 0.59 percent on the day.

In her testimony, Yellen cited "transitory factors" keeping U.S. inflation low, but also acknowledged "there could be more going on there". PayPal gained 3.3%, Nvidia rose 4.3% and Activision Blizzard added 5.2%.

Among oil stocks, Santos is rising 0.7 percent, while Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are advancing more than 1 percent each after crude oil prices advanced more than 1 percent overnight. The trade-weighted index was at 77.91 from 77.56. Indeed, Yellen says in her testimony, "because we also anticipate that the factors that are now holding down the neutral rate will diminish somewhat over time, additional gradual rate hikes are likely to be appropriate over the next few years". Business investment has turned up this year, she said, and stronger economic growth overseas has helped US manufacturing and exports.

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