Dollar steadies after Fed fall, shares bob at record high



Thu, 27 Jul 2017 - 02:52 GMT


Thu, 27 Jul 2017 - 02:52 GMT

Dollar banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken June - Reuters

Dollar banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken June - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Stocks, bonds and commodities were starting to show signs of fatigue on Thursday, having been driven higher by signs that softening U.S. inflation could see the Federal Reserve keeps its interest rates lower for even longer.

MSCI's 47-country All World share index was at its latest record high as Wall Street looked set for its own fresh peak [.N] and after Asian stocks had jumped to their highest in almost a decade.

European bourses struggled in comparison, eking out only the smallest of gains, as a lung cancer drug test failure sent pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca sliding 16 percent and disappointing Deutsche Bank results push its shares down 3.5 and weighed on Germany. [.EU]

The broader rush for risk was still intact though, coming after the Fed left U.S. rates unmoved as expected but tweaked its wording on inflation.

The market seized on the fact that the central bank noted that both overall and core inflation had declined and removed the qualifier "recently," perhaps suggesting concerns the slowdown might not be temporary.

It had pushed the dollar to a 2-1/2 year low against the euro and a 13-month trough against a broader set of top currencies before stabilizing in Europe where traders were more intent on dumping the safe-haven Swiss franc.

The Fed also said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon", cementing expectations of a September start.

While that would be an effective tightening in financial conditions, it might also lessen the need for actual hikes in rates, which matter more for currency valuations.

"The market's interpretation of the Fed had been a fairly simplistic one," said Morgan Stanley's head of global FX strategy Hans Redeker.

Taking both the change in the wording on inflation and impression that consolidating the balance sheet will start in September, "then it is taking the balance sheet reduction as a substitute for further rate hikes," he added.

A Reuters poll showed most primary dealers still see the Fed's next rate rise in December. But rate futures are pricing in less than a 50 percent chance of a hike by then, compared to just over 50 percent before the Fed's meeting.

Swiss Rolls

Bond markets were only just starting to pull back as Wall Street trading neared, having rallied in reaction to the Fed.

Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries - which move inverse to price - nudged up fractionally to 2.29 percent though Europe held most of its gains which had included a six-week low on Germany's short-dated yields.

The euro, which had been bumping up against a 23-month top for most of the week, finally broke through to reach as far as $1.1777, its highest since early 2015, before the urge to take profit kicked in Europe.

Weaker-than-expected ECB lending data also weighed and the euro was last buying $1.1707 with the next major upside target the 200-week average at $1.1807 - a measure it has not traded above since mid-2014. [FRX/]

The dollar was also gradually clawing up against the yen, climbing to 111.39 yen per dollar having been as low as 111.03 yen, that despite expectations the Bank of Japan will keep its super-easy policies in place longer than most other global central banks.

The Swiss franc tumbled though to its weakest against the euro since its central bank abandoned a peg to euro zone currency in early 2015. It also fell 1 percent versus the dollar which was its biggest drop in over two months.

"The safe haven trade for the Swiss franc is starting to unwind," said Michael Hewson, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets in London.

The prospect of U.S. policy staying stimulative saw Wall Street's fear gauge touch a record low as stocks notched historic closing highs.

The Dow had ended Wednesday up 0.45 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.03 percent and the Nasdaq 0.16 percent. [.N]

Futures markets pointed to further modest gains when trading resumes in New York later though Twitter caused a flutter as weaker-than-expected growth in monthly active users sent its shares down 8 percent in premarket trading. [.N]

The declining greenback boosted commodities priced in dollars. Gold hit a six-week high and was last trading at $1,261.80, while copper reached $6,400 a tonne, territory not trodden since May 2015.

Oil prices paused near eight-week highs after a surprisingly sharp drop in U.S. inventories encouraged speculation a global crude glut would recede. [O/R]

A bout of profit-taking saw Brent crude futures ease 7 cents to $50.90 a barrel, while U.S. crude dipped 5 cents to $48.70.



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