NZ Dollar Retreats As Asian Stock Markets Traded Lower

Gold Price Inches Up Ahead of Fed Meeting

Yellen said several factors have held inflation down: A job market still healing from the Great Recession, lower energy prices and a strong dollar, which has reduced the costs of imports. Crude oil prices headed lower, giving up early gains.

She said the Fed would adjust its policymaking if it thought the causes of low inflation had become permanent.

The announcement was widely anticipated and showed the Fed's confidence in the country's economic growth, according to The New York Times.

Traders also await the latest New Zealand political opinion poll ahead of Saturday's general election and the Bank of Japan's two-day meeting that begin today.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan handed back earlier gains and was down 0.1 percent after falling 0.7 percent the previous day. Wells Fargo added 74 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $53.45. That would mean inflation would fall short of the Fed's 2 percent target for the sixth straight year.

"We see the odds of a summer Fed rate increase rising if United States data this week show solid job gains, rising wages and an inflation pick-up", wrote Richard Turnill, BlackRock's global strategist.

The dollar was trading at one-week highs on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve indicated the possibility of an additional rise in interest rates this year and announced the winding down of its stimulus program.

As expected, the Fed on Wednesday set a start date for its effort to reverse the balance-sheet expansion it undertook in response to the 2008 financial crisis, following a step-by-step plan unveiled in June.

You can see this in the way the yield curve actually flattened as long-term Treasury bonds failed to decline as one would expect.

Fed officials say they also foresee a slightly slower path for rate hikes in 2019.

Where is Dominica? Island 'brutally hit' by Hurricane Maria
Authorities in the islands are asking people to remain indoors and prepare for power outages and a cut in water supply. Croix was largely unscathed during Hurricane Irma , which hit the islands on September 6.

The balance sheet primarily consists of government and mortgage-backed bonds. The U.S. central bank intends to spend $10 billion less on bonds beginning next month, a figure that will eventually reach $50 billion a month in October 2018. The Dow gained 63.01 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,331.35.

The Final Word: The Federal Reserve remains on course to normalize monetary policy as previously planned, a sign policymakers remain generally upbeat about the economic recovery.

"The Fed did not surprise, but the underlying signal was more hawkish than markets expected", said David Plank, head of Australian economics at ANZ, in a note.

The iPhone maker's shares fell 2.5 percent and was the biggest drag on all three indexes after reports that the company admitted to connectivity issues with its latest smartwatch.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index rose 3.64 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,503.87.

"Higher prices for gasoline and some other items in the aftermath of the hurricanes will likely boost inflation temporarily", the Fed warned in its statement.

The Fed has telegraphed its move for months, and investors are thought to be prepared for it.

"Keeping rate hikes where they were was expected".

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.72 yen from 111.47 yen on Monday.

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