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Global share markets rise after U.S. inflation remains contained

Herbert Lash
·3 min read
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index (DAX) board is seen at the end of a trading day at the German stock exchange (Deutsche Boerse) in Frankfurt

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global shares rose on Tuesday, led by surging technology-related stocks, as Treasury bond yields eased on U.S. consumer price data for March that showed the pace of inflation was not spiking wildly, as some feared.

The consumer price index jumped 0.6%, the largest gain since August 2012, as increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus unleashed pent-up demand. But the data is unlikely to change Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's view that higher inflation in coming months will be transitory.

"We're just going to have a temporary flame-up in prices but there will not be any structural inflation that's here to stay," said Carlo Franchini, head of institutional clients at Banca Ifigest SpA in Milan. "Fed comments continue to be conciliatory."

The U.S. dollar fell and the price of inflation-hedge gold rebounded from its lowest in more than a week. But equity markets took the data in stride, especially technology-heavy indexes whose stocks could be affected by rising debt costs.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.23%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.13%. The top five holdings of the MSCI all-country world index are the big U.S. technology companies.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.37%, the S&P 500 gained 0.11% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5%.

Asian stocks overnight gained support on China trade data that showed exports in dollar terms rose more that 30% in March from a year earlier, short of expectations. Imports jumped 38%, their fastest pace in four years, suggesting a post-pandemic recovery in Chinese 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%.

Treasury yields are being influenced by increased foreign demand while low bond yields and the cost of debt will buoy higher-risk equity assets, said Steven Oh, global head of credit and fixed income at PineBridge Investments.

"The Treasury market reaction (to CPI) was effectively a collective yawn in continuing the trend that in the near term, market yields are largely unrelated to economic data," Oh said.

"Inflation and economic data matters in determining Treasury yields, but it's been and will be a secondary factor for now."

Benchmark 10-year notes fell 1.7 basis points to yield 1.6552%, well below a 14-month high of 1.776% reached on March 30.

Later on Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury will auction $24 billion of 30-year bonds after Monday's three- and 10-year note auctions performed relatively smoothly.

The dollar briefly spiked on the CPI data before reversing course and dipping to three-week lows after surging to multi-month peaks in March as markets anticipated fiscal stimulus would spur faster U.S. economic growth and higher inflation.

The dollar index fell 0.167%, with the euro up 0.23% to $1.1936. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.16% versus the greenback at 109.19 per dollar.

Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said on Monday the U.S. 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.

Brent crude futures rose $0.66 to $63.94 a barrel. U.S. crude futures gained $0.64 to $60.34 a barrel.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Tom Wilson in London; editing by Stephen Coates, Simon Cameron-Moore, Larry King, Jane Merriman and Dan Grebler)