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Stocks flat, US yields edge higher ahead of data

Stocks flat, US yields edge higher ahead of data

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global stocks was little changed on Wednesday, pausing after equities in Europe and the U.S. hit record levels in the prior session, as investors looked to the next round of data on inflation and consumer health.

Stocks in Europe and the S&P 500 closed at records in the prior session, shaking off a slightly hotter than expected reading on U.S. consumer inflation (CPI), with the S&P 500 also getting a lift from a surge in Oracle shares after its quarterly earnings.

The inflation data did little to alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut rates by at least 25 basis points (bps) at its June meeting, currently at 65.5% according to CME’s FedWatch Tool.

Investors will get another round of inflation data in the form of the U.S. producer price index (PPI) on Thursday, along with data on consumer spending and the labor market, before next week’s policy meeting for the Fed.

“Out of earnings season the focus will shift back to the Federal Reserve, inflation readouts, just how hot the labor market is,” said Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments in Atlanta.

“We could see the whites of the eyes of the markets when and if the Federal Reserve comes out the way we think they probably can and be a lot more hawkish in order to scare the markets into appreciating the optionality they have, and one of the main options is standing pat, which is not what the market is really expecting over the next three meetings.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 110.98 points, or 0.28%, to 39,116.47, the S&P 500 lost 6.45 points, or 0.12%, to 5,168.82 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 71.59 points, or 0.44%, to 16,194.15.

Yields continued their climb after the CPI data with the yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes up 2.1 bps to 4.176%, from 4.155%, and on track for a third straight session of advances, which would mark its longest run in just over a month.

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The 2-year note yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, rose 0.8 bps to 4.6071% and was also poised for a third straight gain.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe fell 0.01 points to 775.70. The STOXX 600 index rose 0.23%, while Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 5.23 points, or 0.26%

The dollar index fell 0.08% at 102.84, with the euro up 0.14% at $1.0937 after the result of the long-awaited Operational Framework Review showed the European Central Bank (ECB) wants to wean banks off free cash but it will try to do so gently enough not to upset the financial system or lending

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar strengthened 0.16% to 147.88, while sterling strengthened 0.08% to $1.28.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin gained 2.07% to $72,537.00 after climbing to its third straight record at $73,678.

In commodities, U.S. crude gained 1.91% to $79.04 a barrel and Brent rose to $83.36 per barrel, up 1.76% on the day, supported by a drop in U.S. crude inventories as well as potential supply disruption after Ukrainian attacks on Russian refineries and signs of strong demand.


(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Mark Potter)

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