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And there's the political item: Will President Trump reappoint her?

Financial shares added to gains following the statement while utilities declined. Yellen was nominated in October 2013 for the post, which requires Senate confirmation.

Some traders had speculated the Fed led by Chair Janet Yellen may soften its stance on raising interest rates a third time in 2017 as inflation has been stuck below its 2 percent goal and amid signs of weaker business activity in the aftermath of two hurricanes that hammered two southern USA states.

NORTH KOREA: Markets are also watching Trump's United Nations speech on Tuesday for any mention of military options on North Korea following its latest missile launch. Consumers continue to spend, and business investment is "picking up", the Fed said. But its stimulus efforts that have kept rates near historic lows since 2008 have failed to boost inflation.

Similarly, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) analysts said in a recent report that the odds of a third rate hike this year have increased to 60 percent from 55 percent, after a significant firming in core inflation. "That's holding the kiwi-Aussie cross up a bit", he said.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said central bankers will "look through the economic impacts of Harvey and Irma, because they know they're temporary".

The Federal Reserve says it expects the economy will grow this year at a slightly faster pace than it projected in June. And low inflation can hurt the economy: Businesses get queasy about investing in people and equipment. And next year, it's forecasting growth of 1.9 percent for the eurozone, 0.1 percentage point more than previously thought, but below its 2.4 percent projection for the U.S. The big three eurozone economies - Germany, France and Italy - all saw upward revisions.

Here's the old dot plot (each blob shows where one Fed committee member expects rates to be each year). The Fed believes inflation will remain below the bank's 2 per cent target until 2019.

Oanda Head of Trading Asia-Pacific, Stephen Innes, said the Fed's decision to maintain its interest rate forecast of one increase this year and three in 2018 could leave more room for the U.S. dollar to rise further.

USA stocks were resilient, finishing the day close to record highs, A potentially surprising outcome given the fact that U.S. rate hike probability for December jumped to around 60%. A December interest rate hike remains on the table and the Fed also wants to raise USA rates three times in 2018.

In addition, the Fed said it will begin to gradually unwind its $4.5 trillion balance sheet next month.

Pfizer rose about 1 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded stock to "overweight" from "equal weight". Most assets consist of the Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities the bank acquired under its quantitative easing program. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, inched 0.2 per cent lower to 91.889.

The S&P 500 advanced 0.1% to 2506.65, a new all-time high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.45 points, or 0.2%, to 22,370.80, also a record.

Ten-year U.S. bond yields rose against investors' expectations that at the end of their two-day Fed meeting they will announce when the bank's normalization will begin, which is now around $4.5 trillion. Month-on-month the growth rate was 1% compared to expectations of 0.2% growth, while year-on-year the increase was at 2.4%. The Fed is not expected to increase discount rate at tomorrow's disclosures, but it can give information about reducing its balance worth $4.5 trillion.

On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed at a record high, hitting the 2,500 level for the first time, largely helped by a rebound in technology stocks.

S&P 500 and Dow futures pointed to a fractionally higher start in NY as a small rise from London's FTSE helped Europe claw back to flat, having spent the morning in and out of the red.


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