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Now is not the time for risky junk bonds BlackRocks Rieder

´╗┐Markets are emboldened by the tone of monetary policymakers following an interest rate hike on Wednesday, but now is not the time to take on more risk in U.S. corporate debt, top BlackRock Inc bond investor Rick Rieder said. Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income, also told Reuters on the phone that markets need to see some kind of agreement on U.S. tax policy reforms by summertime."The August recess is a very important date, and I think if we're in the summer and it doesn't look like we're getting things done then risk markets, inflation markets would come under pressure," he said. BlackRock managed more than $5.1 trillion in assets on Dec. 31.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday for the second time in three months, but stocks and bonds both rallied as policymakers did not signal a plan to significantly accelerate the pace of monetary tightening."If you have any concerns about them shocking the system from a rapid rate rise they were pretty clear that's not coming," he said.

The iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the lower-grade corporate market, had its best showing since November, rising 1.4 percent on Wednesday following price declines for the better part of the month."Emerging markets are more attractive than high yield at these levels," Rieder said.

Rieder said on Feb. 1 the Fed would raise rates three or four times this year, a prediction he made when markets anticipated a fewer than one-in-five chance of a rate hike on Wednesday. Speeches by Fed officials after Feb. 1 pushed markets to conclude the most recent hike was all-but-inevitable and suggested they could embark on a more "hawkish" rate-hike trajectory to tamp inflation risks as U.S. President Donald Trump and his Republican party tout tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other fiscal stimulus measures.

Wall Street to open higher on Feds gradual rate hike outlook

´╗┐U.S. stocks looked set to open higher on Thursday, building on a day-earlier rally after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time this year and indicated it was in no hurry to increase the pace of tightening. The central bank on Wednesday raised rates by a quarter point to 0.75-1.00 percent, nodding to the continued strength in the labor market and a pick up in inflation. However, the Fed stuck to its outlook for two more rate hikes this year and three more in 2018. Shares of big U.S. banks, which slipped on the less hawkish-than-expected stance on Wednesday, were up between 0.5 and 1.5 percent in premarket trading. "A less aggressive Fed was clearly the message the markets wanted to hear and indeed acted accordingly," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note. "The Fed's plan to stick to three rate hikes gave the green light for investors to focus on economic and corporate growth."

Backing Fed Chair Janet Yellen's optimism on the economy, a report from the Commerce Department showed homebuilding jumped in February as unseasonably warm weather boosted construction of single-family houses. Moreover, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to a further tightening in the labor market, according to a report from the Labor Department. Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 59 points, or 0.28 percent at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), with 7,893 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 2.75 points, or 0.12 percent, with 53,199 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 9.5 points, or 0.18 percent, on volume of 6,104 contracts.

Britain asks regulator to investigate Sky takeover by Murdoch's Fox LONDON The British government said on Thursday it would refer Rupert Murdoch's planned takeover of European pay-TV group Sky to regulators to decide if the deal was in the public interest.

Yahoo cyber indictment shows Kremlin, hackers working hand-in-hand (Story corrects first name of U.S. Senator Warner to Mark, not John in 15th paragraph of March 15th item.)

Fed rate moves could spell end to Asian easing SINGAPORE The long cycle of falling interest rates in Asia could be over after the U.S. Federal Reserve's third rate rise in 15 months was followed quickly by monetary tightening in the world's second-biggest economy, China.