Gold heads for first weekly gain in three as Fed hurts dollar

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United States stocks looked set to open higher today, building on a day-earlier rally after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time this year and indicated it was in no hurry to increase the pace of tightening.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 96.65 points, or 0.46 percent, to 20,934.02, the S&P 500 gained 16.79 points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,382.24 and the Nasdaq Composite added 35.65 points, or 0.61 percent, to 5,892.47. The index was down nearly 1 percent overall for the week and 1.2 percent since the Fed raised rates on Wednesday.

Still, some market strategists see near-term headwinds for precious metals, especially since the bullish sentiment spurred by President Donald Trump's proposals to juice the US economy through fiscal-stimulus measures haven't entirely vanished.

The normalisation of Fed monetary policy also pushed some emerging market central banks to follow suit: China's central bank increased short-term interest rates for the third time this year in a move seen aimed at curbing capital outflows and supporting the yuan. The People's Bank of China hiked the rate for its six-month and one-year medium-term lending facility and open-market repurchase operations by 0.1%. The bank cited the Fed's rate hike and improved Chinese economic conditions.

The Netherlands were in focus amid a closely watched election, where populist, far-right candidate Geert Wilders (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/who-is-the-dutch-trump-geert-wilders-and-should-investors-be-worried-about-him-2017-03-10) is vying to win the most seats in parliament.

Brent futures had yet to be traded yet after settling down 43 cents at $50.92 on Tuesday, the lowest finish since November, after industry body OPEC reported a rise in global crude stocks.

The S&P 500 was virtually flat at 2,382, as of 10 a.m.

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Technology stocks did better, led by Oracle, which reported stronger revenue and earnings for its latest quarter than analysts expected.

Shares of Tesla rose 2.8 per cent to US$262.94 (RM1,166) after the electric carmaker said it would raise about US$1.15 billion as the company speeds up the launch of its Model 3 sedan.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 27 cents to $49.02 per barrel.

"Gold, copper and oil all rallied as the dollar dropped". Brent crude, which is used to price worldwide oils, rose 26 cents to $52.00 a barrel.

The dollar was steady at 113.32 yen JPY= but is on track to post a 1.2 percent loss for the week.

At German lender Commerzbank AG, currency analyst Antje Praefcke also said that "the euro seemed unimpressed" Thursday, but warned that the euro remains vulnerable because "political risks in the eurozone remain high with a view to the French elections".

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