Wall St regains ground as fears of rising interest rates dissipate

Wall Street stocks rebounded on Wednesday from the previous session as the prospect of rate hikes wore off after weaker-than-expected jobs data and a clarification from the US Treasury Secretary on remarks that helped trigger a massive sale.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3% in the afternoon in New York, after tech stocks tumbled Tuesday, dragging the US and wider European stock markets with them. The blue-chip S&P 500 index gained 0.4% on Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to a new high.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen surprised markets on Tuesday by saying lower US interest rates may have to rise to slow the economy’s rapid recovery. However, she later clarified her remarks, which had a disproportionate effect on growth stocks because of their sensitivity to changes in interest rate expectations, asserting that she did not foresee “an inflationary problem”.

Investors have been debating for months what will prompt the US central bank to reduce its $ 120 billion monthly bond purchases that began in March 2020. The Federal Reserve says the US economy still needs support monetary policy at the end of the pandemic.

Ahead of the full U.S. government non-farm payroll figures due Friday, ADP data released Wednesday showed U.S. private sector employers added 742,000 new jobs in April, below the 800,000 forecast by economists polled. by Reuters.

That hiring rate was high enough to satisfy investors betting on continued economic growth, but not so fast that it would amplify fears that the Fed would change its stance on interest rates, said Georgina Taylor, fund manager multi-assets at Invesco.

“The markets are hostage to all that remains as is, with a continued recovery while central bank policy remains favorable,” Taylor said. “As long as the economic data isn’t a disaster or is extremely strong, people feel like they don’t have to think of a different investment regime.”

In Europe, the regional benchmark Stoxx 600 closed up 1.8%, with the continent’s tech sub-sector advancing 2.7%, after falling 3.8% a day earlier, its worst performance since last October.

UK gilts, which have fallen in price this year as investors anticipate rising inflation that would erode fixed-rate yields, weakened ahead of a Bank of England meeting on Thursday. The UK 10-year government bond yield rose 0.02 percentage points to 0.82%, after falling from 0.175% at the start of 2021.

Last month, the BoE became the biggest buyer gilts as part of its quantitative easing program, aimed at supporting financial markets during the pandemic. Some analysts are now considering the central bank to cut back on these purchases.

“The Bank of England is still a long way from tightening monetary policy, but could be one of the first central banks to report that it is thinking about it, possibly in early 2022,” said Shamik Dhar, chief economist at BNY Mellon Investment Management.

The dollar, measured against a basket of trading partners’ currencies, traded flat. The world’s benchmark crude oil, Brent, slipped 0.3% to $ 68.68 per barrel.

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