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Markets surge on Fed rate-cut signals


A trader works, as a screen displays the Fed rate announcement, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 20, 2024. 

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today


Asia stocks surge
Asia markets rallied Thursday after the 
Federal Reserve held interest rates and maintained its forecast for three rate cuts this year. Japan’s Nikkei 225 as well as the Topix hit record highs. South Korea’s Kospi and the small cap Kosdaq also led gains in the region. Overnight, U.S. stocks soared to record closing highs. The Dow jumped 400 points, or 1.03%. The S&P 500 gained 0.89%, hitting above the 5,200 level for the first time, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.25%. 

Gold rally isn’t over
Gold prices have been soaring and could surge more as central banks continue to buy bullion. Prices could hit $2,300 per ounce later this year, especially with the U.S. Federal Reserve expected to cut rates in 2024, said Aakash Doshi, Citi’s North America head of commodities research.

Congress eyes U.S. funding into China
U.S. investments going into China is coming under more Congressional scrutiny, besides the recent move to essentially ban TikTok. After initial false starts, some in the House of Representatives are trying to move ahead on legislation to cut off the flow of American capital that’s allegedly funded China’s military development.  

Reddit prices IPO
Reddit has priced its IPO at $34 per share, in the first major social media offering since 2019. The company, which hosts millions of online forums, sold 15.28 million shares, while existing shareholders sold an additional 6.72 million. According to a press release, the offering brought in $519 million, valuing the company at close to $6.5 billion. 

[PRO] Weight loss drugs
A new class of weight loss drugs could hit Swiss companies with strong exposure to food categories, according to Vontobel. The investment bank estimates the demand for these drugs will grow in the coming years despite the high costs. “Therefore, the most affected categories are snacks/confectionary, ‘fast food,'” the analysts said.

The bottom line

Wall Street liked what it heard from the Fed — that it’s sticking to three rate cuts for this year.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell and officials aren’t blinking yet and seem willing to cut rates so long as progress on inflation holds up.

The positive signal was reflected in sharp moves in markets, with all three major averages soaring to record closing highs. Investors heaved a sigh of relief as recent hot inflation data fueled worries it could result in fewer cuts than expected.

“Overall, though, the FOMC has stuck to its view that the underlying inflation picture is improving, notwithstanding the disappointing numbers in the…



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