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Markets

Global shares steady as investors await US inflation data

  • Euro STOXX 600 up 0.2%.
  • Investors watch for US inflation due at 1230 GMT.
  • Bitcoin hits new record.
  • Export-heavy German shares gain 0.2%.
  • China imports rise at fastest pace in 4 years.
13 Apr 2021

LONDON: Global stocks were steady on Tuesday as market players awaited US data expected to show a pick-up in inflation, with the dollar also edging higher.

The broad Euro STOXX 600 gained 0.2%, hovering near record highs, with export-heavy German shares and Paris both up 0.2%. London shares fell 0.2%.

Investors were focused on US inflation data for March, due at 1230 GMT, with many expecting that an increase in inflation would accelerate recent moves by equity investors to rotate towards cyclical stocks.

"The question for the next few months is not whether inflation will pick up, but how far inflation is going to pick up," said Hugh Gimber, global markets strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

"We do see scope for further increases in Treasury yields over the course of 2021. We'd expect that to drive a continuation of the rotation that we've seen over the past six months or so towards more cyclical sectors."

Wall Street futures gauges fell between 0.2%-0.4% after the New York Times reported US federal health agencies will call for an immediate pause in use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine after six US recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.

The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasuries was up at 1.6765%, holding below a 14-month high of 1.776% reached on March 30. Bond yields rise when prices fall.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was marginally in the red.

Investors were also awaiting the start of the first-quarter earnings season, with results from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo due on Wednesday.

"(Inflation) is going to be a key determinant in the equities performance in weeks or even months to come, even though we have the earnings season that is going to kick in rapidly," said Olivier Marciot, portfolio manager at Unigestion.

Asian stocks had earlier gained support on China trade data that showed exports in dollar terms up by over 30% in March from a year earlier, short of expectations.

Still, imports jumped 38%, their fastest pace in four years, suggesting a post-pandemic recovery in its domestic spending.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gave up most of its gains and closed up 0.1%. China's blue-chip index fell 0.2%.

"SIGNIFICANT REBOUND"

In currency markets, the dollar rose from near a three-week low against other major currencies on Tuesday, buoyed by a bump in Treasury yields.

The dollar was last up 0.2% against a basket of currencies, at 92.245.

The dollar has eased back along with US yields this month after surging to multi-month peaks as markets expect that major fiscal stimulus, coupled with continued monetary easing, will spur faster US economic growth and higher inflation.

Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said Monday the US economy could see a significant rebound this year due to looser money and fiscal policy but the country's job market still faced weakness.

He said with inflation still below the central bank's 2% target rate the current "highly accommodative" monetary policy stance remained appropriate.

Bitcoin hit a record of $63,199 on Tuesday, extending its 2021 rally to new heights a day before the listing of Coinbase shares in the United States.

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