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Dollar strength hurts stocks, crude oil bounces off lows

By Reuters | March 28th 2016
By Reuters | March 28th 2016

Global equity markets declined on Thursday and the dollar added to a recent string of gains after another US Federal Reserve official talked of higher US interest rates before long.

The dollar rose for a fifth day, adding 0.07 per cent to 96.116 against a basket of major currencies. The streak is the longest for the dollar in nearly a year and puts the greenback on track for its first weekly rise in a month.

The gains were further supported by remarks of St Louis Fed President James Bullard, who joined a chorus of officials who have recently highlighted the chance of at least two rate increases this year, with the first perhaps as soon as April. The dollar’s strength weighed on oil prices, although they partly rebounded from session lows after a drop in the US oil rig count eased some concerns stemming from recent data showing record high US stockpiles.

“You have to somehow break out of the cycle, when you are so dependent on everything the Fed does or everything a central banker says. That kind of locks up the market,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

“It is really frustrating we are stuck with these guys, and every time they say something the market reacts.”

The rally in crude prices to above $40 (Sh4,062) a barrel had been a big factor in stock market advances in recent weeks.

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