GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks gain, US treasury yields rise as banking fear eases

·3 min read

By Xie Yu

HONG KONG, March 28 (Reuters) - Global stocks and U.S. bond yields rose on Tuesday, as a U.S. regulator-backed deal by First Citizens BancShares to buy failed Silicon Valley Bank soothed wider worries about problems in the sector.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.3% by early morning Hong Kong time. U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, were up 0.21%.

Australian shares jumped more than 1%, as lithium and commodity stocks rallied sharply after battery metals explorer Liontown Resources rejected a $3.7 billion buyout bid from Albemarle Corp.

Top U.S. banking regulators said on Monday that they planned to tell Congress that the overall financial system remains on solid footing after recent bank failures, but will comprehensively review their policies in a bid to prevent future collapses.

The concerns, however, haven't completely gone away as Federal Reserve Governor Philip Jefferson said on Monday that stress among small banks could hit small businesses hardest.

The dollar slid to 130.76 yen from the late New York high of 131.75 and 131.54 early Asia.

"This round of uncertainty that we're seeing, it will likely continue for some more time," said Manishi Raychaudhuri, Asia-Pacific head of equity research at BNP Paribas. "We haven't seen the end of it." He expects continued volatility for global markets going forward for at least one or two quarters.

In addition to concerns about any contagion caused by developed market banking woes, markets have also been jostled by wild shifts in expectations about what central banks in the United States and Europe might do next, Raychaudhuri said.

"On one day, the market expects maybe a 25 basis points or maybe a 50 basis points rate hike. Just in a matter of one or two days, that outlook is changed to 50 basis points rate cuts in the second half of the year," he said.

On Monday, the S&P 500 ended slightly higher as a deal for Silicon Valley Bank's assets helped to boost bank shares, while technology-related stocks dipped amid profit taking after a strong quarter.

U.S. Treasury yields rose on optimism that stress in the banking sector could be contained and as the Treasury Department saw soft demand for a sale of two-year notes.

Benchmark 10-year yields rose to 3.5317%, up from its U.S. close of 3.528% on Monday. They are also up from a six-month low of 3.285% reached on Friday, but remain below a 15-year high of 4.338% from Oct. 21.

Two-year yields rose to 3.957%, up from a six-month low of 3.555% on Friday but below the almost 16-year high of 5.084% hit on March 8.

On the other hand, oil prices rose more than $3 on Monday as a halt to some exports from Iraq's Kurdistan region added to worries about oil supplies while a U.S. banking acquisition eased worries that financial turmoil could hurt the economy and curtail fuel demand.

By Tuesday morning Hong Kong time, Brent crude futures and West Texas Intermediate U.S. crude were both hovering around Monday’s closing levels.

Gold was slightly higher. Spot gold was traded at $1,957.96 per ounce.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)