The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield keeps retreating ahead of economic data
Wall Street stocks closed mostly lower Wednesday, with technology shares leading losses. On the data front, the U.S. import price index increased 1.2% in March, and 0.8% stripping out for fuel prices. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book pointed to a moderate pace of economic growth this spring, but a slight inflation uptick in 2021. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than 0.2%, the S&P 500 fell 0.41%, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.99%.
Asian stocks were mixed Thursday, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pausing after two straight days of gains. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.69% while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 0.76%. The Kospi in Seoul added 0.41%. Investors continue to be worried amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the region despite the International Monetary Fund’s rosy view on Asia’s economic outlook.
In Europe, equities opened marginally higher on Thursday. The pan-European Stoxx 600 added 0.4% in early trade. On the positive side, the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield keeps retreating ahead of the release of weekly jobless claims figures and March retail sales data.
As for currencies, the dollar extended losses nearly across the board, staying under pressure on Thursday despite the Fed officials began talking about tapering bond-buys. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the tapering of asset purchases would come well before any interest-rate increase but stressed the economy still needs to make significant progress.
In other markets, oil prices rallied on Wednesday, posting the highest finish since mid-March. In its monthly report, the International Energy Agency raised its forecast for global oil demand in 2021 by 230,000 barrels a day from its previous forecast. It now sees an increase of 5.7 million barrels a day from 2020 to 96.7 million barrels a day this year. In a weekly report, the Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels for the week ended April 9. Against this backdrop, Brent crude jumped to $66.88 while retaining a relatively upbeat tone on Thursday, holding marginally above the $66 barrier.