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Markets

Stocks mostly up as traders look to Fed

  • Oil prices climbed as demand optimism overshadowed virus infection concerns, with both main crude contracts around multi-year highs.
15 Jun 2021

LONDON: European stock markets rose Tuesday following a mixed showing in Asia as traders looked ahead to the start of the Federal Reserve's key interest-rate meeting.

With inflation surging as countries emerge from coronavirus lockdowns, markets are betting that central banks will raise interest rates sooner than expected, which in turn could hamper economic recovery according to analysts.

Against this backdrop, the Fed's two-day meeting -- and boss Jerome Powell's comments following Wednesday's conclusion -- are firmly in the spotlight.

Several observers have warned that the Fed's pledge to avoid tightening rates until US unemployment is tamed and inflation is running persistently hot could backfire if the economy overheats, which could force it to tighten borrowing costs at a sharper pace.

"We're in a tug-of-war between the understanding that we're having great economic growth and great earnings growth juxtaposed with the fact that we need to get our head wrapped around what inflation looks like," said Art Hogan, chief strategist at National Securities.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both clocked record highs Monday on Wall Street, despite countries battling to overcome the virus and more transmissible variants, which are either forcing them to delay reopenings or reimpose fresh containment measures.

On Tuesday, bitcoin held around $40,000 after Elon Musk said that Tesla would start accepting the unit again once it is mined more ecologically.

It has won a boost also from top hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, who endorsed it as a good hedge against inflation.

However, Marc Odo of Swan Global Investments said: "These days, bitcoin's market pivots on what Elon Musk tweets -- for me, that's not a great indicator. It's like some billionaire's whim.

"I don't think there's anything fundamentally moving bitcoin one way or the other, other than rumours and tweets. That's not an asset class I want to be involved with."

Oil prices climbed as demand optimism overshadowed virus infection concerns, with both main crude contracts around multi-year highs.

"That oil has rallied so significantly in the face of notable US dollar strength suggests the rally has plenty left in it," said OANDA's Jeffrey Halley.

With crude prices in the US currency, dollar strength can make it more expensive to purchase for holders of rival units.

Key figures at 1100 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,166.35 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 15,752.96

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 6,643.32

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 4,149.84

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 29,441.30 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.7 percent at 28,638.53 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.9 percent at 3,556.56 (close)

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 34,393.75 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2120 from $1.2124 at 2050 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.4079 from $1.4107

Euro/pound: UP at 86.09 pence from 85.91 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.06 yen from 110.08 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $73.50 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.8 percent at $71.44 per barrel

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