Wednesday, October 27

Stagflation woes drag down US stocks; 2-yr Treasury yield jumps


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NEW YORK — US shares were whipsawed on Tuesday as investors waited for businesses to report how rising prices have hit their latest earnings, while bond yields spiked on bets that monetary policy will soon be tightened given inflation pressures.

Soaring oil prices largely held on to recent gains, while US stock indices vacillated repeatedly between modest gains and losses before a flurry of third-quarter bank earnings reports from Wall Street on Wednesday and Thursday.

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After watching oil prices steadily gallop higher in the past 18 months, many investors now worry that rising prices are exacerbating supply bottlenecks, weighing on businesses and crimping economic growth.

Coal prices are at a record peak, and while gas prices are off recent highs, they remain four times higher in Europe than at the start of the year.

The impact of supply crunches in power and manufacturing components is showing up in data – figures on Tuesday showed Japanese wholesale inflation hit 13-year highs last month, British shoppers slashed spending, China recorded a 20% drop in car sales and bottlenecks dragged German economic sentiment down for a fifth month.

“We are in a sort of a holding pattern until we see the results,” said Peter Kenny, founder of Kenny’s Commentary LLC and Strategic Board Solutions LLC in New York.

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“We are seeing some downgrades on US growth and the impact on businesses will be the thing to watch.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.16%, the S&P 500 also lost 0.16%, and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.12%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.07% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.28%.

Oil prices were mostly steady. US crude dipped 0.07% to $80.46 per barrel, while Brent crude rose above $84 a barrel briefly before shedding 0.5%.

With businesses hit by persistent supply chain disruptions and inflation pressures, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that the global economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is being constrained, and cut growth outlooks for the United States and other major industrial powers.

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Given rising expectations that accelerating inflation will prompt central banks to rein in ultra-loose policies, benchmark bond yields rose in anticipation of tighter monetary conditions.

Two-year Treasury yields jumped to 0.3459%, a level last seen since March 2020, and up from 0.318% on Friday. Benchmark 10-year yields were little changed at 1.6031%, from 1.605% late on Friday.

All those concerns, alongside rising Treasury yields, supported demand for the dollar. Its index was a whisker off recent one-year highs and stands near a three-year peak against the yen.

The dollar index rose 0.179%, and a stronger dollar nudged the euro down 0.22% to $1.1526. The Japanese yen weakened 0.31% versus the greenback to 113.65 per dollar.

Gold, usually seen as a hedge against inflation, shone on Tuesday despite dollar strength.

Spot gold added 0.4% to $1,759.98 an ounce. US gold futures gained 0.35% to $1,760.70 an ounce.

(Reporting by Sujata Rao, additional reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Rachel Armstrong, Alex Richardson, Jane Merriman nd Nick Macfie)

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