Stocks surge after Fed board member suggests no hurry to raise rates

North American stock markets gained altitude on Monday after an official with the U.S. Federal Reserve set a cautious tone on the possibility of future interest rate hikes.
People look at smartphones in front of an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo on Monday. (Koji Sasahara/Associated Press)

North American stock markets rallied today after a U.S. Federal Reserve official hinted that the central bank remains cautious about interest rate hikes.

Fed governor Lael Brainard said the risk with raising rates too soon is that it could damage the fragile economy.

Following the comments, Toronto's S&P/TSX composite index climbed 57.06 points to 14,597.06, while in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average surged 239.62 points at 18,325.07.

The broader S&P 500 index was up 31.23 points at 2,159.04 and the Nasdaq composite added 85.98 points at 5,211.89.

Stock markets plunged on Friday after Fed Bank of Boston president Eric Rosengren said there was a case to be made for the Fed to raise rates sooner rather than later.

Commodities were mixed as the December gold contract fell $8.90 US to $1,325.60 US, while the October crude oil contract gained 41 cents at $46.29 US per barrel.

The October contract for natural gas gained 12 cents at $2.92 US per mmBtu.

The December copper contract was up a penny to $2.10 US a pound.

The Canadian dollar was barely changed, dipping 0.07 of a cent at 76.63 cents US.