Dollar gains, stocks falter after U.S. inflation data

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Global share prices slid from record highs on Tuesday after U.S. inflation rose by the most in 13 years in June, driving the dollar up, the yield on benchmark U.S. government debt initially down and stocks on Wall Street to trade near break-even.

FILE PHOTO: A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The U.S. consumer price index jumped 5.4% year over year last month, the largest gain since August 2008, following a 5.0% increase in the 12 months through May, the Labor Department said. CPI increased 0.9% month over month after advancing 0.6% in May.

One print on inflation will not significantly change the outlook of policymakers at the Federal Reserve, said Michael Brown, senior analyst at Caxton in London.

The immediate market reaction was tame “as people try to dig into all of these numbers because they don’t want to get wrong- footed in the way they did after the May CPI,” said Jim Vogel, fixed income strategist at FHN Financial in Memphis.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 1.4 basis points to yield 1.3493%, after jumping to 1.39% following the inflation data’s release.

Graphic: US inflation:

Gold edged higher but an advancing dollar and bond yields kept the metal confined to a tight range and Latin American currencies came under pressure from the U.S. inflation spike as investors feared the Fed would tighten monetary policy.

“A lot of this will play into the Fed’s transitory story,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, interest rate strategist at TD Securities in New York.

“There is certainly some concern that some of these price increases are coming in much quicker than expected, but you can argue that a lot of this is due to the recovery,” he said.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 50 countries, rose 0.06% to 727.8, while Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index dropped 0.11% at 1,776.18.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68.57 points, or 0.2%, to 34,927.61, the S&P 500 gained 0.57 points, or 0.01%, to 4,385.2 and the Nasdaq Composite added 43.78 points, or 0.3%, to 14,777.02.

Traders are looking forward to Fed Chair Jerome Powell testifying before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday, for any signals on the timing of potential U.S. tapering.

The euro was last down 0.32% at $1.1821 and the yen was last down 0.04% at $110.3100.

Overnight in Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1%, its best daily gain since late June, led by a 1.6% rise in Hong Kong, where tech stocks rose broadly. Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.5% while Australian shares closed broadly flat.

In Hong Kong, tech behemoth Tencent Holdings Ltd jumped 3.9% after China’s antitrust regulator on Tuesday approved its plan to take China’s No.3 search engine, Sogou Inc, private in a $3.5 billion deal.

“We have clearly seen a (new) round of corrections of the technology sector, which places a heavy weight on Hong Kong’s stock market, due to concerns over a new round of regulatory crackdown following the probe into Didi. Against this backdrop, there is room for a short-term rebound,” said Zhang Zihua, chief investment officer at Beijing Yunyi Asset Management.

Euro zone government bond yields have fallen in line with U.S. Treasuries in recent weeks, and are running close to their lowest levels since early April.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield was unchanged at -0.30%, close to a three-month low of -0.344% that was hit last week.

South Africa’s rand dropped to a three-month low, slipping 1.2% to 14.4000 against the dollar, as violence escalated over the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.

Oil prices edged up as tight supply and expectations of a further draw in U.S. and global crude inventories provided support, though fears over the spreading COVID-19 variant capped gains.

Brent crude was last up $0.26, or up 0.35%, at $75.42 a barrel. U.S. crude was last up $0.05, or up 0.07%, at $74.15 per barrel.

Spot gold prices rose $5.4926 or 0.30%, to $1,811.37 an ounce.

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