Stocks rise as U.S. inflation trends lower, bond yields slide
SINGAPORE, May 10 (Reuters) – A gauge of global stock markets rose and bond yields slid on Wednesday after data showed U.S. consumer prices in April rose at a slightly slower-than-expected pace, suggesting the Federal Reserve is succeeding in taming high inflation.
The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% after rising 0.1% in March, the Labor Department said. But in the 12 months through April, the CPI increased 4.9%, less than the 5.0% year-on-year gain in March that a Reuters poll said analysts also expected.
Futures showed the probability that the Fed will raise rates again in June slid to 6.1% from 21.9% just before the data’s release, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool. The odds of the Fed cutting rates later this year also increased.
But the economy remains strong and slowing inflation to the Fed’s 2% target will take time, said Johan Grahn, head ETF market strategist at Allianz Investment Management in Minneapolis.
“On the back of another strong jobs report in March, an unemployment rate at 3.4%, 9.5 million job openings and wage growth that continues to run hot, the Fed is likely to remain focused on their inflation-killing agenda for months ahead,” Grahn said.
“The Fed does not aim to get rate policy right just in time, they aim to get it right over time,” he said.
Shelter, a big component of CPI, came in a bit weaker, giving markets relief as some people were looking for a stronger number, said Priya Misra, head of Global Rates Strategy at TD Securities in New York.
“There’s a big caveat, it came in weaker because of hotels and not because of rents,” she said. “The market may be rejoicing here that inflation is on the way down. It is, but we just think it’s going to be a little bit sticky on the way down.”
The two-year Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with rate expectations, slid from 4.05% before the CPI news and dropped to 3.908%. Benchmark 10-year notes fell 8.1 basis points to 3.441%.
The dollar retreated on expectations the Fed will pause its interest rate hikes to curb high inflation, while crude oil futures gave up initial gains after the data’s release on concerns a rise in U.S. inventories showed weakening demand.
The dollar index eased 0.20% and equity markets rose as the CPI data suggested the Fed’s most aggressive rate hikes in four decades were yielding results.
The Nasdaq was helped by a 4.1% gain in Alphabet (GOOGL.O) as the company rolled out more artificial intelligence for its core search product in response to competition from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), which rose 1.7%.
Headwinds still loom for the world’s biggest economy, as detailed talks on raising the U.S. government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling began on Wednesday. The Treasury Department has warned a destabilizing default could come as soon as June 1.
Foreign exchange markets had been treading water while markets weighed policymakers’ rhetoric against traders’ conviction that U.S. interest rates should fall.
The European Central Bank’s key interest rate is approaching its peak but further adjustments are still necessary, ECB Governing Council member Mario Centeno said on Wednesday, adding he expected rates to start easing at some time next year.
The euro rose 0.19% to $1.0981.
China’s weak import figures for April held down Chinese and Hong Kong stocks for a second straight session, as investors fret that the market rebound from the reopening of the economy is fading into an uneven recovery.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.3% and the yuan fell to a two-week trough.
An apparent crackdown on due diligence firms is roiling the sector and unnerving investors. Reuters reported CICC Capital, a unit of leading Chinese investment bank China International Capital Corp (3908.HK), stopped using consultancy Capvision.
U.S. crude futures fell 1.6% to settle at $72.56 a barrel, and Brent settled down 1.3% at $76.41 a barrel.
Gold prices slipped as the CPI data was viewed as mixed and triggered profit-taking by some investors.
U.S. gold futures settled 0.3% lower at $2,037.10 an ounce.