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On Friday, Powell told the American Economic Association that the Fed is not on a preset path of interest rate hikes and that it will be sensitive to the downside risks markets are pricing in.

Against the yen, the greenback fell 0.41 percent, fetching 108.09.

Gold benefited from the diminished risk of US rate hikes and rose half a percent to $1,291.12, just off a six-month high.

"The newsflow we have seen since Friday has lifted sentiment", said Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. The goal is to release more liquidity and offset a funding squeeze ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls early next month.

The euro and the Australian dollar led gainers with the latter also benefiting from the weekend news of growing policy stimulus in China.

Financial markets have been rattled by heightened worries about slowing global growth, especially in the United States and China, though data on Friday showed strong U.S. job growth.

Powell said the central bank "will be patient" with monetary policy as it watches the economy evolve.

"The market is reconsidering its expectations for Fed rate hikes and as the expectations have been scaled back gold prices have been able to edge higher", said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank. The boost to stock markets saw them recapture all the year's losses and push into positive territory for 2019 so far, with Wall St's main indices closing up more than 3 percent by the close on Friday.

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The dollar index stood near 2-1/2-month lows as investors grew increasingly convinced that the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates this year amid uncertainties over the U.S. economy.

"Last Friday's strong United States jobs data suggested that recession fears were overblown", said Philip Wee, currency strategist at DBS in a note.

After a slew of weaker-than-expected manufacturing data, Chinese authorities on Friday cut reserve requirements for all banks by 100 basis points.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch noted global equity markets had lost $19.9 trillion since January a year ago, and a record $84 billion had flowed out of stocks in just the past six weeks.

Financial markets are also optimistic about USA officials meeting with their counterparts in Beijing this week for the first face-to-face talks since President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping on december 1 agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war. Apple Inc. last week cut its revenue outlook for the first time in nearly two decades, citing weakness in China's economy as one of the reasons.

Goldman Sachs researchers expect a bounce in equity markets in 2019.

The U.S. dollar - which served as a safe haven in 2018 - fell broadly, with the euro edging up to $1.1442 and the dollar index easing 0.3 percent to 95.90. South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.3%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 benchmark rose 1.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.8%.

The People's Bank of China increased holdings to 59.56 million ounces by the end of December, or about 1,853 metric tons, from 59.24 million ounces previously, according to data on the central bank's website.


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