Thursday, February 29, 2024

Global stocks steady before inflation data

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Global equities were little changed on Monday as investors waited for key U.S. and European inflation data later in the week, while gold hit a six-month high as the dollar fell.

MSCI’s index of world stocks (.MIWD00000PUS) was last down 0.06% after climbing for four straight weeks and notching a gain of around 8.7% this month.

Europe’s STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) was last 0.13% lower, while Germany’s Dax stock index was down 0.12% and Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE) slipped 0.2%. Futures on the S&P 500 index were 0.18% lower.

Global stocks have surged in recent weeks as bond yields have dropped, with cooling inflation in developed economies boosting investors’ expectations that central banks are finished raising interest rates and might soon be cutting them.

“The (U.S. Federal Reserve) minutes came out (last week) and revealed what everyone already knew: which is that, at least at the moment, they’re done or are on pause… and as a result stocks and bonds are both rallying,” said Duncan MacInnes, investment director at investment company Ruffer.

“We’ve had about 500 basis points of interest rate rises forced through… do we really think that won’t have any consequences? That seems to be what market is saying,” he added.

Investors were looking ahead to Thursday’s release of the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation and consumer inflation figures for the euro zone, which could give markets direction after last week’s Thanksgiving lull.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note , which influences borrowing costs around the world, was last up 1 basis point at 4.494%. It has fallen sharply since hitting a 16-year high above 5% in October. Yields move inversely to prices.

With U.S. market interest rates falling, the dollar index has slid 3.16% in November. The gauge, which tracks the dollar against six peers, was trading 0.11% lower on Monday at 103.33.

Gold has benefited from the dollar’s slide, hitting a six-month high of $2,017.82 per ounce on Monday. Spot gold last traded up 0.57% at $2,013.40. Investor worries about the Israel-Hamas conflict have also boosted the precious metal

Oil prices slipped on Monday, with Brent down 0.53% to $80.15 a barrel and U.S. crude 0.65% lower at $75.06 per barrel.

The oil market faces a tense few days ahead of a meeting of OPEC+ on Nov. 30, where member countries will try to agree on supply curbs into 2024. It was originally slated for Sunday but was postponed as producers struggled to find a unanimous position.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is due to address the European Parliament on Monday. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is set to wrap up a week of central bank speeches on Friday.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield was down 1 basis point at 2.638%, well below a 12-year high of 3.024% hit in early October.

Inflation data for Germany is due out on Wednesday ahead of the euro zone release. Survey data on China’s manufacturing sector is set for Thursday.

The euro was last up 0.1% at $1.0941.

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