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Equities edge higher with US 10-year yield, Powell and inflation in focus

Published 07/07/2024, 08:29 PM
Updated 07/08/2024, 05:15 PM
© Reuters. File photo: Cars travel past a display showing Shanghai and Shenzhen stock indexes near the Shanghai Tower and other skyscrapers at the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China February 5, 2024. REUTERS/Xihao Jiang/File photo

By Sinéad Carew and Nell Mackenzie

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) -MSCI'S global equities gauge barely gained ground on Monday, while the benchmark U.S. Treasury yield ticked up as investors awaited testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, key inflation data and the corporate earnings season kick-off.

In foreign exchange markets, the euro lost ground after earlier hitting a multi-week high against the dollar following France's election surprise.

Investors were waiting to listen to Powell's comments to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday for more clarity on the prospects for interest rate cuts by the U.S. central bank.

They were also waiting for the closely monitored U.S. consumer price report, which is due on Thursday. June's inflation rate is expected to slow to 3.1% year-over-year, from 3.3% in May, and the core measure is estimated by economists to stay steady at 3.4%.

The week will end with the kick-off of the second-quarter earnings season with reports from major U.S. banks Citigroup, JP Morgan and Well Fargo on Friday.

"Investors are positioning as they expect a continuation of this rally for the rest of the year," said Bruce Zaro, managing director at Granite Wealth Management in Plymouth, Massachusetts adding that investors are hoping for a dovish tone from Powell.

Ross Mayfield, an investment strategy analyst at Baird, said investors also want to hear Powell acknowledge "that the two-sided risks are more evenly balanced today, in particular, with respect to the labor market."

Traders have increased bets that the Fed will first cut rates in September, according to CME Group's (NASDAQ:CME) FedWatch tool, which shows a 73.6% probability for a September cut, up from 72.2% on Friday and 59.8% a week ago.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.08 points, or 0.08%, to 39,344.79, the S&P 500 gained 5.66 points, or 0.10%, to 5,572.85, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 50.98 points, or 0.28%, to 18,403.74.

For the benchmark S&P 500, the tiny gain marked its fourth record close in a row, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq's advance on Monday marked its fifth straight record close.

After four closing records in a row, MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe was up 0.07% after hitting an intraday record earlier on Monday. In Europe, the STOXX 600 index earlier closed down 0.03%.

On the currencies side, the euro eased slightly against the dollar after earlier touching its highest level since June 12.

In France, a leftist alliance unexpectedly took the top spot in Sunday's parliamentary runoff election, delivering a setback to Marine Le Pen's nationalist, euroskeptic National Rally party.

"There was a small risk that France would actually start to move towards exiting the Eurozone" if the National Rally had won, said Helen Given, FX trader at Monex USA in Washington. "People are just happy to have it off the table."

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies including the yen and the euro, gained 0.07% at 105.02.

The euro was down 0.12% at $1.0823, while against the Japanese yen, the dollar strengthened 0.05% to 160.8.

U.S. Treasury yields were a mixed bag as investors awaited guidance from the U.S. central bank and June inflation data later this week to assess the next moves for government bonds.

The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes rose 0.5 basis points to 4.278%, from 4.273% late on Friday, while the 30-year bond yield fell 0.6 basis points to 4.4628%.

The 2-year note yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, rose 3.4 basis points to 4.6327%, from 4.599% late on Friday.

In commodity markets, oil futures settled lower as Hurricane Beryl shut U.S. refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico and as hopes for a ceasefire deal in Gaza appeared to reduce concerns about global crude supply disruptions.

U.S. crude settled down 1%, or 83 cents, at $82.33 a barrel and Brent finished at $85.75 per barrel, down 0.9% or 79 cents on the day.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 24, 2024.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

In precious metals, gold prices slipped as investors booked profits after Friday's soft U.S. jobs data pushed prices to a more than one-month high on hopes the Fed would begin cutting interest rates in September.

Spot gold lost 1.35% to $2,359.34 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 1.49% to $2,352.90 an ounce. [GOL/]

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