Fed's Powell signals more hikes ahead if U.S. economy remains strong

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In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of regional shares closed up a preliminary 0.12 percent. West Texas Intermediate is trading at $69.35, and since the Asian open, the black stuff has headed higher.

Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar stood at 95.516, down 0.3 per cent on the day.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled Friday that he expects the Fed to continue gradually raising interest rates if the USA economic expansion remains strong.

The U.S. Dollar spiked lower on the news with the headlines reading that Trump's comments triggered the break.

Another of Trump's former advisers has pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, bank fraud and tax evasion.

"The president would like easier monetary policy or at least he would not like to see interest rates marching higher to offset the boost to the economy from his fiscal and trade policies", he said in a research note.

Powell did not mention Trump in a speech at a central bankers conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

"For equities, the key point will be whether Powell indicates that the Fed is poised to hike rates two more times this year". Powell is due to speak at 1400 GMT.

On Aug. 20, President Donald Trump said he was "not thrilled" with the Fed raising rates under Powell's leadership.

The Jackson Hole speech follows closely behind President Trump's criticism of the Fed for its continued tightening of United States monetary policy ever since Powell, who was nominated for the role by Trump, took the helm in February.

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The US Dollar (via the DXY Index) is closing in on its lows of the week established on Wednesday as traders are heading into the weekend disappointed by what they've heard so far at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks added 0.56% to conclude at 1,726.

The Australian dollar was among the worst performers as the country is gripped by political uncertainty with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted and the governing Liberal Party set to choose a new leader.

European markets fell slightly on Thursday as new details covering a "no deal" Brexit and trade war worries overshadowed positive economic data from the euro zone.

The TSX also rose, but was underperforming the major US indexes, despite another surge in pot stocks and a rally in the energy sector.

Friday's price action comes after talks between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives appeared to end without any breakthrough or success in de-escalating the so called "trade war" between the two.

In early trade Hong Kong fell 0.8 percent, Shanghai shed 0.5 percent, Seoul dropped 0.2 percent and Singapore lost 0.9 percent.

Shares of industrial giants Caterpillar Inc and Boeing Co, which have been bellwethers of trade sentiment, were among the biggest drags on the Dow, which lost about 0.3 percent.

Enbridge fell 1.8 percent, and was the biggest drag after the country's largest pipeline operator said it would buy its US master limited partnership Spectra Energy Partners for a sweetened $3.3 billion deal.

The Fed "has been navigating between the shoals of overheating and premature tightening with only a hazy view of what seem to be shifting navigational guides", Mr Powell said.