World shares hit new record, dollar gains before Fed decision

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Global equity shares scaled a new peak on Tuesday, lifted by rising U.S. and European stocks, while the dollar gained as strong earnings bolstered sentiment as investors await the Federal Reserve’s plans to taper its massive stimulus.

FILE PHOTO: A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq stock indexes hit fresh records, helped by a slew of robust earnings updates, while the STOXX 600 in Europe also posted a record close on strong corporate results as France’s CAC 40 index hit its highest since 2000.

The Australian dollar fell after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) sounded a more dovish tone than expected in the first of three much-anticipated central bank meetings this week.

The Fed will release a statement at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, when it is expected to announce the start of tapering its bond-buying program. Markets also are pricing an interest rate hike at the Bank of England meeting on Thursday.

The moves higher on equity markets indicated concerns about supply chain disruptions and rising inflation are overblown, as are concerns about the Fed’s tapering plans, said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist at Ingalls & Snyder in New York.

“These are temporary factors that will work themselves out,” Ghriskey added. “Earnings and revenues continue to surprise to the upside as this is a very strong economy.”

MSCI’s all-country world index, which tracks equity performance in 50 nations, rose 0.09% to 749.21 after earlier surpassing the 750 mark to an all-time peak. The pan-European STOXX 600 also hit a new peak, up 0.1%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.41%, the S&P 500 added 0.35% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.12%.

Sentiment was mixed in the Asian session, with equities and bonds of Chinese property developers down over worries about contagion from China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis. A debt exchange from one of the country’s top homebuilders triggered a flurry of credit warnings.

The RBA took a major step toward unwinding the central bank’s pandemic-induced stimulus by dropping targets on bond yields and saying a rate move in 2023 was possible given inflation has risen faster than forecast. But it pushed back against hawkish market expectations.

Short-dated Australian government bond yields fell and the Australian dollar slid 1.0% to $0.7448.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.19% to 94.105 even as the market has fully priced in a Fed taper announcement.

The euro fell 0.24% at $1.1578, while the yen dipped 0.08% at $113.8900.

U.S. Treasury yields drifted as the market awaited the Fed’s announcement.

The market does not believe economic growth is going to be very strong next year, said Joe LaVorgna, chief economist for the Americas at Natixis in New York.

“The real interest rate has stayed depressed if not slipped and that’s really a function of where growth is. The market just doesn’t believe growth is going to be very robust,” LaVorgna said.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 3.1 basis points to yield 1.5418%.

European government bond yields fell, pausing from a sell-off sparked by the European Central Bank last week disappointing expectations of a firm push back against aggressive market pricing for rate hikes.

German 10-year yields slipped 0.8 basis points to -0.168%.

Oil fell further below $85 a barrel, still close to a three-year high, in choppy trade ahead of weekly U.S. supply reports expected to show a rise in crude inventories.

Brent crude was down $0.07 at $84.64 a barrel. U.S. crude was down $0.41 at $83.64 a barrel.

Bitcoin rose 4.3% to 63,544.84.

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