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4 big stories that affected the ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) this week

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) was eventful this week. Here are four big stories that affected the ASX 200 index:

US Federal Reserve Chair boosts the market

The US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell put a rocket under the share market this week by saying that US interest rates may not rise as high as expected.

“Interest rates are still low by historical standards and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth.”

The Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) share price went up 7.4% this week in response to the Fed news.

Soaring returns for the Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) share price again

Afterpay shares went up 27% this week after an ASIC report acknowledged that the buy now, pay later business is indeed different to its competitors. It also held its AGM re-capping how well Australian and US expansion was going.

Royal Commission hearings end

The executives of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ), National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) and AMP Limited (ASX: AMP) have appeared before Commissioner Hayne for the last time because Friday was the final day of the gruelling public hearings.

The final report is due to be submitted to the Governor-General by 1 February 2019, which may contain some suggestions on how to change the industry.

AGM season reaches boiling point

We’ve seen a higher level of shareholder protests this month due to high executive pay and/or poor company performance & decisions.

This week saw Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR) shareholders vote heavily against directors. We also Blue Sky Alternatives Access Fund Ltd (ASX: BAF) shareholders vote against appointing directors or increasing their pay.

A few weeks ago there was a large protest vote from Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) shareholders.

Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of Altium. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO, Altium, and National Australia Bank Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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