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Stocks up, yields dip after U.S. data with Fed eyed

2023-01-31T16:31:23Z

A gauge of global stocks rose on Tuesday, erasing earlier declines, while U.S. Treasury yields mostly moved lower after as investors digested economic data and earnings reports ahead of a string of central bank policy announcements.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks were slightly higher, getting a boost from data that showed labor costs growth in the fourth quarter was the smallest in a year with a 1.0% increase. Other data showed consumer confidence eased in January, with inflation expectations over the next twelve months climbing to 6.8% from 6.6% last month.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. Investors will also closely monitor comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell following the announcement for clues on the path of monetary policy.

“The question is now going to be how does the Fed communicate after that – if there are any changes to the statement and how does the press conference go afterwards,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer for private wealth at Glenmede in Philadelphia.

“The Fed is probably looking at today and thinking they are on the right path on rates but the overall financial system – if you take into account the rise in equities, the lowering of longer-term rates – has shifted easier on them. I suspect they don’t like that, it is not necessarily what they want to have happen.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI)
rose 100.29 points, or 0.3%,
to
33,817.38
, the S&P 500 (.SPX)
gained 27.25 points, or 0.68%,
to
4,045.02
and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC)
added 118.73 points, or 1.04%,
to
11,512.54
.

The S&P 500, up about 5.2% for the month, is on track for its best January performance since 2019.

Interest rate announcements from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are scheduled for Thursday, with both seen as likely to hike by 50 basis points.

Markets will also grapple with a host of U.S. economic data this week, culminating in Friday’s payrolls report for January. Investors see signs of weakening in the labor market as a key factor in bringing down high inflation. Other data included gauges of the manufacturing and services sectors.

In addition, more than 100 S&P 500 companies, including market heavyweights Apple (AAPL.O), Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O), are scheduled to report results this week.

Names such as Caterpillar and McDonald’s both lost ground on Tuesday after their quarterly results.

European shares retreated ahead of the central bank meetings. Economic data for the euro zone showed slight growth for the fourth quarter, but further weakness is expected this year.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) lost 0.22% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe (.MIWD00000PUS) gained 0.20%. MSCI’s index was on pace for its biggest January percentage gain since 2019.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year notes were down 2.4 basis points to 3.527%, from 3.551% late on Monday after hitting a 2-week high 3.574%, in the wake of the data.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar index, on track for a fourth month of declines, slipped against a basket of currencies, while the euro strengthened.

The dollar index fell 0.088%, with the euro up 0.14% to $1.0859.

Oil prices recovered from earlier lows, as U.S. crude recently rose 1.57% to $79.12 per barrel and Brent was at $84.65, down 0.29% on the day.

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