-Currencies: South Africa’s rand and Brazil’s real were among the biggest gainers in emerging-market currencies, jumping at least 1.9 percent. Currencies from other commodity-producing nations also strengthened. Australia’s dollar advanced 0.9 percent after the nation’s jobless rate unexpectedly declined, while New Zealand’s currency strengthened 1.5 percent after fourth-quarter economic growth beat projections. “In the very short term, risk currencies — Asia, commodity currencies — will do well as other risk assets including stocks and oil benefit from the Fed’s dovish stance,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, senior markets strategist in Singapore at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
-Stocks: The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed, after reaching its highest level of the year yesterday. Caterpillar Inc. added 0.4 percent after a first-quarter outlook that was well below analysts’ estimates. Mondelez International Inc. slid 2.4 percent after Pershing Square Holdings Ltd., the publicly traded security of Bill Ackman’s activist hedge fund, cut its stake. A report today showed fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, illustrating the Fed’s view of a stronger labor market. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.8 percent, as the euro rose against the dollar. A gauge of lenders fell for a third day, led by Banco Popolare SC. Glencore Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. rallied, boosting a gauge of commodity producers.
-Commodities: All six metals advanced on the London Metal Exchange, supported by a weakened U.S. currency. Copper for delivery in three months jumped 1.7 percent as exchange inventory fell 3.7 percent, the biggest decline since May 2014. Brent crude oil climbed 1.3 percent to $40.84 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate added 2.9 percent to $39.58. U.S. output slid to the lowest level since November 2014 and inventories expanded by 1.3 million barrels, the smallest increase in five weeks, data showed Wednesday. Major oil-producing nations plan to meet April 17 in Doha to discuss a commitment to freezing output, Qatar’s energy minister said.
-Bonds: Government bonds climbed after the Fed’s dovish tone. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell two basis points to 1.89 percent. Italy’s 10-year bond yield fell five basis points to 1.28 percent, while benchmark German 10-year bund yields slid eight basis points to 0.23 percent. The yield on U.K. 10-year gilts lost seven basis points to 1.45 percent.
-Following the Fed: U.S. stock futures are slipping a bit after markets made solid gains Wednesday. The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold on Wednesday and significantly lowered its estimate for the number of rate hikes to expect in 2016. Investors had cheered the prospect of continued low interest rates, which are designed to support economic expansion. But now the market mood has taken a somber turn. The U.S. dollar fell and is still looking weak Thursday. Commodities companies are benefiting from the weaker dollar — stocks in mining firms are rising in London.
– Rate decisions in Europe: Just like the Fed, the Bank of England is not expected to move interest rates Thursday. The Bank of England rate decision comes at 8 a.m. ET. Norway’s central bank took interest rates a notch lower — to 0.5% from 0.75% — due to weaker growth prospects. The Swiss National Bank left its negative interest rates on hold Thursday. Negative rates operate like a bank charging customers to park their money in an account instead of paying them interest. European markets were in positive territory in early trading but turned weaker by mid-morning.
-Gold sparkles, oil rallies: Gold prices are rising by about 3% to trade near their highest level in over a year. Crude oil futures are also surging by about 2% to trade just above $39 per barrel. Many traders are hopeful that major oil producers will soon agree to freeze production. Many of the world’s top oil producers are meeting about this on April 17 in Doha, Qatar.
-Stock market movers — FedEd, Lufthansa: FedEx (FDX) shares climbed nearly 6% in extended trading after the shipping company issued a favorable outlook. Shares in the German airline group Lufthansa (DLAKY) are sinking in Europe after investors expressed their disappointment with the latest set of earnings.
– Earnings: Michaels Companies (MIK) and Land’s End (LE) will post quarterly earnings ahead of the open. Results from Adobe (ADBE), Aeropostale (ARO) and New York & Co (NWY) are due this afternoon after the closing bell.
– Wednesday market recap: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.4% on Wednesday, the S&P 500 jumped 0.6% and the Nasdaq added 0.8%.