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World equities rise on bounce in U.S., European markets

Asian shares trim losses, while dollar firms on Powell's rate pain warning
Asian shares trim losses, while dollar firms on Powell's rate pain warning   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters

By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall

NEWYORK – Global shares rose on Friday as Wall Street rallied to end a volatile week of trading, while oil jumped 4% on the back of record-high U.S. gas prices.

Global markets and U.S. stocks were down sharply most of this week as investors grew anxious about the possibility of recession. The S&P 500 index is off nearly 20% from its all-time high in January and was close to a bear market on Thursday. [.N]

But investors’ fears over whether U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell can accomplish a “soft landing” – bringing inflation down while keeping the U.S. economy growing – appeared to ease at least temporarily on Friday.

MSCI‘s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 2.30% at 4:07 p.m. ET (2007 GMT), after hitting its lowest since November 2020 on Thursday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 2.14%.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 94.57 points, or 2.41%, to end at 4,024.65 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 436.61 points, or 3.84%, to 11,807.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 466.43 points, or 1.47%, to 32,196.73.

Despite Friday’s gains, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted their sixth consecutive weekly loss, and the Dow notched its seventh consecutive weekly dip.

Emerging market stocks rose 1.83%. MSCI‘s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rallied 2.01% from Thursday’s 22-month closing low. Japan’s Nikkei rose 2.64%.

“Stocks were ready to rebound as some investors remain hopeful the Fed will deliver a soft landing, while others are ready to buy the dip,” said Edward Moya, analyst at OANDA.

Cryptocurrencies steadied on Friday, with bitcoin recovering from a 16-month low after a volatile week dominated by the collapse in value of TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, rose 3.5% to $29,884, rebounding from a December 2020 low of $25,400 hit on Thursday. Bitcoin remains far below week-earlier levels of around $40,000 and is on track for a record seventh consecutive weekly loss.

Oil prices jumped 4% as U.S. gasoline prices jumped to a record high and China looked ready to ease pandemic restrictions.

Brent futures rose $4.10, or 3.8%, to settle at $111.55 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $4.36, or 4.1%, to settle at $110.49.

GRAPHIC: S&P 500 set for a sixth straight week of falls (https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/zdpxoglxgvx/stx1305.PNG)

Markets are likely to experience a short-term rebound before resuming the sell-off which has sent Wall Street’s Nasdaq tech index down over 25% since the beginning of the year, BofA analysts wrote in a weekly strategy note.

Investors liquidated global equity funds worth $10.53 billion in the week ended May 11, compared with $1.65 billion of net selling in the previous week, according to Refinitiv Lipper.

In an interview late on Thursday, Powell said the battle to control inflation would “include some pain,” and he repeated his expectation of half-percentage-point interest rate rises at each of the Fed’s next two policy meetings.

Headline inflation in the euro zone will fall in the second half of the year but so-called core prices, which strip out food and energy, will keep rising, the European Central Bank’s vice-president Luis de Guindos said on Friday.

The dollar was lower on Friday but remained on track for a weekly gain. The dollar index fell 0.2%, with the euro up 0.21% to $1.0401.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.77% versus the greenback at 129.32 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2232, up 0.27% on the day.

The moves higher in equities were mirrored in U.S. Treasuries, with the benchmark U.S. 10-year yield edging up to 2.9367% from a close of 2.817% on Thursday.

The policy-sensitive 2-year yield was 2.5986%, from a close of 2.522%.

Gold fell more than 1% on Friday and is set for its fourth straight weekly decline, as the dollar’s strength sapped appetite for bullion. Spot gold dropped 0.8% to $1,807.79 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.59% to $1,807.40 an ounce.