Global markets advanced and the dollar fell Thursday after the Federal Reserve damped expectations for U.S. interest-rate increases and investors focused on upbeat earnings reports.
The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.1% in early trading, led by the technology and the food and beverages sectors amid a flurry of earnings reports. That followed gains in indexes across Asia.
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Futures suggested the S&P 500 would add 0.3% at the opening bell.
U.S. stock indexes climbed to fresh records Wednesday after investors found a dovish tilt in the Fed's latest statement and corporate earnings continued to beat Wall Street expectations.
Of the more than a third of the S&P 500 companies that had reported results through Wednesday, 78% beat earnings estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.
"Earnings are coming in above expectations, which is justifying the move up in equities," said Jeff Zipper, managing director at the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank, which has $145 billion under management.
On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell PLC kicked off big oil's second-quarter earnings season with a strong showing, reporting a sharp increase in cash flow from operating activities to $11.3 billion. Shell's shares gained 1%. In Asia, Samsung Electronics Co. delivered its biggest-ever quarter of profit, the South Korean technology giant said Thursday.
At the Fed, officials voted unanimously to leave interest rates unchanged and signaled that the central bank could start shrinking its balance sheet "relatively soon." But tweaks in the Fed's statement indicated that policy makers have grown more concerned about a recent slowdown in inflation.
"As long as the next Fed moves are well telegraphed, it shouldn't present a curveball for the market," Mr. Zipper said. "So far that seems to be the case."
Investors see a roughly 47% chance of a rate rise by the end of the year, according to Fed-fund futures tracked by CME Group.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, was down 0.2%.
Yields on 10-year Treasurys were little changed at 2.284% while German bund yields fell to 0.515%. Yields move inversely to prices.
In Asia, the Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.2% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.8% at a 2-year high.
In commodities, oil prices were down, with Brent crude, the international benchmark, falling 0.3% to $50.95 a barrel. Gold was up 1%.
Ese Erheriene contributed to this article.
Write to Georgi Kantchev at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 27, 2017 04:47 ET (08:47 GMT)