Stocks near flat to higher; dollar touches lowest since late February

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Stock indexes globally were flat to higher on Tuesday with technology shares recovering on Wall Street, while the U.S. dollar touched its lowest level since late February.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, U.S., May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The S&P 500 was little changed as losses in telecom shares overshadowed upbeat news from some retailers. Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, raised its full-year earnings forecast.

AT&T Inc added to losses from Monday, when it said it would cut its dividend payout ratio.

The S&P 500 technology index was up 0.2%.

Investors have been weighing whether rising inflationary pressure in the United States could force the Federal Reserve to reduce its support in order to prevent the world’s largest economy from overheating.

Fed Vice-Chair Richard Clarida on Monday pointed to the weak April jobs report as proof of weakness in the economy.

Several Fed policymakers are expected to speak this week and the U.S. central bank is due on Wednesday to release the minutes from its April policy meeting, which will be read closely for any indications about where monetary policy is headed this year.

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“We’re seeing this dollar weakness against numerous pairs and the market is starting to believe the Fed that we’re going to have low interest rates a lot longer,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

“That’s going to be bearish for the dollar. You’ll eventually see commodity-based currencies outperforming,” Moya said.

The dollar index fell 0.31%, with the euro up 0.41% to $1.2201.

The progress of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and easing of measures to contain the pandemic have lifted higher-risk currencies that stand to benefit most from economic revival.

Bitcoin edged higher but remained near the three-month low it hit after Tesla Inc boss Elon Musk dampened enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency over the weekend.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 76.61 points, or 0.22%, to 34,251.18, the S&P 500 lost 5.04 points, or 0.12%, to 4,158.25 and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.71 points, or 0.43%, to 13,436.76.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.17% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.44%.

U.S. Treasury yields remained little changed, with the yield on 10-year Treasury notes up 0.5 basis point to 1.654%.

U.S. gold futures gained 0.03% to $1,868.00 an ounce.

Brent crude oil hit $70 a barrel for the first time since March before trading down slightly. Brent crude was last down 0.1% at $69.36 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.4% at $66.01.

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