© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
By Marc Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – World share indexes stalled near all-time highs on Tuesday and the dollar and government bond yields tip-toed higher, as some of the biggest global economies pushed on with easing COVID-19 restrictions.
A surge in the price of almost everything, from wood and wheat to metals and microchips, has fuelled talk of an inflation spike.
Sensitive cyclical sectors including energy, mining and travel and leisure helped drive Europe modestly higher, while Wall Street’s tech giants, which have surged during the pandemic, were mostly pointing lower again. [.EU] ()
On Monday, New York Fed head John Williams (NYSE:) had said that the U.S. economic momentum was “not nearly enough” yet to change anything.
Bond market borrowing costs inched up on Tuesday, although signs that the world’s major central banks remain in no rush to reel in their massive stimulus schemes kept 10-year U.S. Treasury yields under 1.65% and Germany’s Bund yields below 13-month highs. [GVD/EUR]
Australia’s central bank left its key interest rates at near zero overnight for a fifth straight meeting too and pledged to keep its policies super-supportive for a prolonged period.
MSCI’s broadest global index, which tracks 50 countries, was barely budged just 1% off its record high.
Australia’s S&P/ASX200 had risen 0.6% and Hong Kong had climbed 0.7% in thin Asian trading due to holidays in both China and Japan.
Taiwan’s tech-heavy bourse was the region’s key exception, with stocks closing down 1.7% amid a rare uptick in domestic COVID-19 infections and after Wall Street’s tech indexes had struggled on Monday. ()
“We see near-term volatility in inflation as the economic restart progresses, and believe markets under-appreciate potential for medium-term price pressures,” analysts at BlackRock (NYSE:) said in their weekly note.
In the currency market, the dollar clawed back some ground to partially unwind last month’s long decline as investors squared up positions ahead of monthly payrolls data due at the end of the week. [FRX/]
The , which measures its value against a basket of six other major currencies, climbed 0.4% to 91.34, just shy of a near two-week high. It fell more than 2% in April.
Sterling dipped marginally to $1.3865 ahead of a Bank of England meeting on Thursday where analysts reckon the bank may announce a slowdown in its bond buying programme.
There are also key British regional elections on Thursday. Focus will be mostly on Scotland where a big win for the SNP party in the country’s devolved parliament elections would put the issue of independence from the UK firmly back on the radar.
For a graphic on Sterling’s referendum rollercoaster rides:
Cryptocurrency ether powered to another record peak, nearing $3,500.
Oil markets flip-flopped, firsting nudging down 0.2% to $67.38 before hoisting it back to almost $68.50 again. Wheat took a breather after its near 20% April surge while gold dipped from a more than two-month high to $1,785 per ounce. [O/R][GOL/]
Emerging market investors had plenty to juggle too. India’s stock markets dipped as COVID-19 infections surged past 20 million and traders were bracing for another busy day in Latin America. Colombia’s peso slumped on Monday after its president withdrew a tax reform plan, sparking fears for its investment grade credit rating.
Peru’s markets have been rattled by elections, El Salvador’s bonds have been hit by the country’s President ousting top judges while Brazil’s heavyweight central bank is expected to hike interest rates again this week.
For a graphic on India suffering world’s worst COVID wave: