US equity markets, led by Healthcare, Energy and Materials stocks, rose to fresh record highs yesterday, as the S&P 500 gained 0.5%.
The US dollar rebounded off 10-month lows against a basket of peers as the euro traded lower ahead of the ECB meeting today. The dollar is trading at $1.152 having been as high as $1.158 on Tuesday.
Brent crude further extended recent strength yesterday, gaining 1.8% and trading within touching distance of $50 a barrel following bullish US inventory data.
Technology stocks led European equity indices higher. The Euro Stoxx 50 index gained 0.6%, while recent euro strength continued to weigh on German equities.
The market awaits the latest monetary policy decision from the ECB today, three weeks after Mario Draghi spooked bond investors by arguing that “deflationary forces” had been vanquished. Economists widely expect the ECB to leave interest rates unchanged.
As expected, there was no change to monetary policy from the Bank of Japan (BoJ) this morning. However, inflation forecasts for the year were revised lower and they have pushed out the timeline to reach the 2% inflation target until 2020.
The Yen traded marginally lower following the release from the BoJ, helping to boost the performance of Japanese equities, which settled 0.6% stronger.