PanamaTimes

Monday, Feb 26, 2024

Global Markets – Stocks limp toward biggest weekly fall of the year

Global Markets – Stocks limp toward biggest weekly fall of the year

World shares limped toward their biggest weekly fall of the year on Friday, though investors took heart from a brief dip in government bond yields as the incoming Bank of Japan chief ruled out an early end to its super-easy monetary policy, according to Reuters.
There was focus too on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow terms a “special military operation,” as calls for peace, but also warnings about a wider escalation, came from both Washington and Beijing.

Europe’s markets couldn’t maintain what had been a positive start with the pan region Euro Stoxx 600 dipping 0.1 percent, Wall Street futures pointing to a red start there later and MSCI’s main worldwide index down 0.2 percent for the day and 1.7 percent for the week.

Europe’s moves were partly offset by a pause in this month’s sharp rise in global borrowing costs — a reversal of January’s trend.

Overnight, Kazuo Ueda, who will take over as governor of the Bank of Japan in April, had told a confirmation hearing that ultra-low interest rates were still needed to support Japan’s fragile economy, warning of the dangers of responding to cost-driven inflation with monetary tightening.

Europe’s benchmark bond yields dipped back from 2011 highs as Germany, the bloc’s industrial power-house said its economy shrank by slightly more than initially predicted in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The dollar was higher again too ahead of US personal consumption expenditures price index data for January, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure. The index is expected to be up 0.4 percent from a month earlier, compared with 0.3 percent the previous month.

Close Brothers Asset Management’s Chief Investment Officer, Robert Alster, said markets were upbeat about the strength of consumer spending in many of the major economies at the moment but also wary about inflation staying higher for longer and extending the rise in interest rates.

“That is why were are all hanging on each data point,” Alster said. “There is a feeling it is going to be volatile, a bit like being cautiously optimistic skating on thin ice” he added. “We are virtually neutral now on all asset classes.”

Unwelcome Anniversary

Wall Street was pointing lower again having ended a topsy-turvy Thursday in positive territory for the first time in five sessions, although it too remains on course for its worst week of the year.

The expectations that US interest rates might need to rise for longer meant the dollar index, which measures the top world currency against six of its main peers, was up 0.25 percent at a seven-week high of 104.859. On Thursday, an unexpected fall in new claims for unemployment and a revised uptick in the fourth-quarter PCE price index, suggested some lasting strength in the world’s largest economy.

“The US dollar index should extend its rise toward 106 if today’s US PCE deflators lift the US Treasury 2Y yield above the 4.5-4.75 percent Fed Funds Rate range,” said analysts at DBS Bank.

A year on from Russia sending its troops into Ukraine, the focus remained the loss of life and long-term geopolitical implications, although the spillovers of the war have had a major impact on financial markets.

Aaron Dunn, co-head of value equity at Eaton Vance, said the most obvious had been the sharp increase in oil and gas and agricultural prices when the war broke out. Notably though, most of those moves have been completely reversed.

“You have basically retracted a fair amount of the gains in most of the energy markets in the back half of 2022,” Dunn said, highlighting that the slump in natural gas prices following a mild winter meant gas use was now replacing coal again in Europe.

“That has helped the global economic picture,” he explained. “The big question is now the top line, the economic performance, and in that respect China’s reopening will play an outsized role in the direction we go from here.”

The overnight comments from BOJ head-elect Ueda on Japan’s easy-money policy had seen Japan’s Nikkei share index close up 1.3 percent, while its five-year government bond yield eased to 0.235 percent.

Ten-year Japanese bonds didn’t trade on Friday due to thin liquidly, after breaching the upper limit of the BOJ’s policy cap for two straight days. But the yen turned choppy as data also showed core consumer inflation hitting a 41-year high, keeping pressure on the BOJ to phase out its stimulus program.

Meantime, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3 percent, for a hefty weekly drop of 2.5 percent.

In particular, Chinese blue chips tumbled 1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.6 percent after comments from US officials that Washington would increase the number of troops helping train Taiwan’s forces.

In the bond markets, the key Treasury yield, or the cost for the US government to borrow in the international debt markets, eased to as far as 3.8590 percent before climbing back to 3.9101 percent.

Benchmark European yields flip-flopped too, dipping after Germany, the bloc’s industrial power-house, said its economy shrank by slightly more than initially predicted in the fourth quarter of 2022.

They popped up again ahead of US trading though with Germany’s 10-year government bond yield last up at 2.49 percent having hit a 2011 high earlier in the week after stronger-than-expected euro zone PMI data.

In the oil market, Brent crude futures rose 0.8 percent to $82.84 while US West Texas Intermediate crude was also up 0.8 percent at $75.99.

Gold was fractionally higher at a spot price of $1,824.89 per ounce although it was on course for a fourth straight weekly drop.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×