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By Arundhati Sarkar (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Wednesday from a nine-month peak hit in the previous session as the dollar steadied and investors squared positions ahead of U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth figures. Spot gold was down 0.6% to $1,925.75 per ounce at 1320 GMT, after hitting its highest since late April on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures dropped 0.4% to $1,927.20. The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to unveil its initial advance fourth-quarter GDP estimates on Thursday, which could set the tone for the Federal Reserve's Jan. 31-Feb. 1 policy meeting. Gold's losses, after the peak recorded on Tuesday, resulted from a technical correction as investors closed positions in order to lock in profits ahead of the release of the data, said ActivTrades senior analyst Ricardo Evangelista. "The overall sentiment is positive, with the Fed expected to adopt a more benign posture and announce a 25bp rate hike, when it meets next week. If confirmed, the scenario will be negative for the U.S. dollar and treasuries, offering support to gold." Lower interest rates tend to be beneficial for bullion, decreasing the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset. The dollar index, meanwhile, held steady, making gold less appealing for other currency holders. [USD/] Traders expect the Fed to scale back its rate hike pace further after slowing its policy tightening spree to 50 basis points (bps) last month after four straight 75-bp hikes. Fears around possible recession were also offering support to gold, analysts said. U.S. business activity contracted for the seventh straight month in January, though the downturn moderated across both the manufacturing and services sectors for the first time since September. Among other precious metals, spot silver fell 0.9% to $23.4537 per ounce and palladium lost 1.1% to $1,723.35. Platinum snapped a three-day winning streak, having shed 1.7% to $1,038.76 on the day.
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By Shreyashi Sanyal and Amruta Khandekar (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes rose on Wednesday after weak retail sales and further evidence of slowing inflation supported hopes of smaller rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, while Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares gained for the second straight day. A reading from the Commerce Department showed retail sales fell 1.1% in December against expectations of a 0.8% drop, while a separate report showed producer prices declined more than expected in December. "The market is getting what it wants, which is the slowing in inflation, which means that the Fed can (hike) at a slower rate and maybe have a lower endpoint," said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT in Atlanta. Traders' bets of a 25-basis point rate hike rose after the data, while U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to a four-month low. [US/] Focus also remains on the earnings season as it gathers pace to gauge the strength of corporate America against the backdrop of higher interest rates. Analysts now expect year-over-year earnings from S&P 500 companies to decline 2.6% for the quarter, according to Refinitiv data, compared with a 1.6% decline in the beginning of 2023. Tesla Inc rose 1.5% for the second straight session as analysts noted the electric-vehicle maker's recent price cuts to top models gave it a competitive edge. Also boosting the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose 0.2% after the company said it would cut 10,000 jobs by the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2023. Among major S&P 500 sectors, consumer discretionary stocks were up 1%, leading gains. U.S. stock markets have started 2023 on a strong footing on hopes that a moderation in inflationary pressures could give the Fed cover to dial down the size of its interest rate hikes. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Wednesday interest rates need to go over 5% at least, echoing views by several other policymakers in recent weeks. At 9:49 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 63.78 points, or 0.19%, at 33,974.63, the S&P 500 was up 14.36 points, or 0.36%, at 4,005.33, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 73.86 points, or 0.67%, at 11,168.98. Among other stocks, United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ:UAL) Inc rose nearly 1% as it forecast at least a four-fold jump in full-year profit, lifting the S&P 1500 airlines index. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) Inc rose 7.8% after reporting data which demonstrated the effectiveness of its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine. IBM (NYSE:IBM) Corp was a drag on the Dow, falling 1.3% after Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) downgraded the company's shares to "equal weight" from "overweight", citing slowing revenue growth. PNC Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:PNC) fell 5.5% after the company missed estimates for fourth-quarter profit. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.96-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.60-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded eight new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 47 new highs and four new lows.
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By Arathy Somasekhar and Muyu Xu (Reuters) -Oil edged lower on Wednesday after slumping in the previous session, weighed down by concerns about weak demand due to the state of the global economy and China's rising COVID cases. Brent futures for March delivery fell 43 cents to $81.67 a barrel, a 0.5% loss, by 0700 GMT. U.S. crude dropped 39 cents, or 0.5%, to $76.54 per barrel. Both benchmarks plunged more than 4% on Tuesday, with Brent suffering its biggest one-day loss in more than three months. "Warning signs of global recession, China's lacklustre recovery with surging COVID-19 cases, renewed strength in the U.S. dollar and dampened risk sentiment are all catalysts keeping oil prices in check overnight," said Yeap Jun Rong, Market Analyst at IG, in a note. The Chinese government also increased export quotas for refined oil products in the first batch for 2023, signalling expectations of poor domestic demand. Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may further cut the prices for its flagship Arab Light crude grade to Asia in February, after they were set at a 10-month low for this month, as concerns of oversupply continued to cloud the market. "The market remains worried about the impact of macro factors such as the economic downward pressure," said analysts from Haitong Futures. The head of the International Monetary Fund warned that much of the global economy would see a tough year in 2023 as the main engines of global growth - the United States, Europe and China - were all experience weakening activity. The Fed also raised interest rates by 50 basis points (bps) in December after four consecutive increases of 75 bps each. If the Fed intensifies its rate hikes, that could slow the economy and hamper fuel consumption. Lending oil some support, the dollar weakened on Wednesday after posting big gains in the previous session. A weaker dollar typically boosts demand for oil as dollar-denominated commodities become cheaper for holders of other currencies. U.S. crude oil stockpiles likely rose 2.2 million barrels, with distillate inventories expected down, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday. [EIA/S] Industry group American Petroleum Institute is due to release data on U.S. crude inventories at 4.30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) on Wednesday. The Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, will release its own figures at 10.30 a.m. (1430 GMT) on Thursday.
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By Rowena Edwards LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices edged lower in volatile trade on Tuesday as weak demand data from China, a gloomy economic outlook and a stronger U.S. dollar weighed. Brent crude futures fell $1.07, or 1.25%, to $84.84 a barrel by 1447 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down $1.15, or 1.43%, at $79.11, having shed more than $2 earlier in the session. Both contracts had risen more than $1 in early trade. "Brent and WTI have recovered almost 15% from the lows a few weeks ago as traders continue to price in stronger Chinese demand," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. "The outlook remains highly uncertain, though, which should ensure oil prices remain highly volatile." The Chinese government has raised export quotas for refined oil products in the first batch for 2023. Traders attributed the increase to expectations of poor domestic demand as the world's largest crude importer continues to battle waves of COVID-19 infections. In further bearish news, China's factory activity shrank in December as the surging COVID-19 infections disrupted production and weighed on demand after Beijing largely removed anti-virus curbs. Adding to the gloomy economic outlook, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Sunday said that the United States, Europe and China - the main engines of global growth - were all slowing simultaneously, making 2023 tougher than 2022 for the global economy. Prices are also under pressure from a stronger dollar, which makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies and tends to weigh on demand. The market will be looking for indications from the U.S. Fed's December policy meeting on Wednesday. The Fed raised interest rates by 50 basis points (bps) in December after four consecutive increases of 75 bps each. Also on the radar, U.S. December payrolls data is due on Friday, which is expected to show that the labour market remains tight. Looking ahead, Commerzbank (ETR:CBKG) said it expects the global economic outlook to play a "much more important role" in oil price developments than production decisions taken by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group known collectively as OPEC+. The bank expects signs of economic recovery "in key economic areas" to push Brent back towards $100 a barrel, which it said could happen from the second quarter of the year onwards.
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By Ankur Banerjee SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The yen spiked to a seven-month high against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday on rising expectations that the Bank of Japan might move away from its ultra-easy monetary policy. Speculation that the BOJ was set to start shifting off its ultra-loose policy flared when the central bank widened the yield cap range on 10-year Japanese government bonds (JGBs) last month, and it was further fuelled by a Nikkei report on Saturday that the BOJ was considering raising its inflation forecasts in January to show price growth close to its 2% target in fiscal 2023 and 2024. "The market obviously wants to believe that tinkering with the yield curve is not once and done," said Moh Siong Sim, currency strategist at Bank of Singapore, adding that the market was looking for further signals that there would be more tweaks to the yield curve control settings. But Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has dismissed the chance of a near-term exit from ultra-loose monetary policy. The yen strengthened 0.69% versus the greenback at 129.83 per dollar on Tuesday, having touched 129.51 earlier in the session - a level last seen in June. The Asian currency lost 12% against the dollar in 2022, with the Japanese authorities stepping into the market in September to prop it up for the first time since 1998 and again in October, when it weakened to a 32-year low of 151.94 per dollar. On Tuesday, the yen's gains were broad, with the euro slipping 0.57% to 138.52 yen and sterling 0.44% lower at 156.76 yen. With Japanese markets closed, thin liquidity may have exacerbated the move, analysts said. Investor attention this week is fixed on the minutes of the Fed's December policymaking meeting, which are due to be released on Wednesday, with traders looking for clues to what rate path is likely to be taken in 2023. The U.S. central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points last month after delivering four consecutive 75-basis point hikes in the year, but has said it may need to keep interest rates higher for longer to tame inflation. Citi strategists said the minutes could reveal more divergence between doves and hawks regarding how high the terminal rate should go. "We will also be looking for any guide on what could determine the size of the hike at the February meeting, but would not expect any concrete guidance," Citi said, adding they continue to expect a 50 basis points hike in February. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, has made a subdued start to 2023 and was last down 0.029% at 103.610. The dollar index rose 8% last year in its biggest annual jump since 2015 on the back of the Fed raising interest rates to tackle inflation. The dollar is likely to consolidate as "market activity gradually picks up this week," said Christopher Wong, currency strategist at OCBC Bank in Singapore. U.S. payrolls data, due to be released on Friday, is expected to show that the labour market remains tight. ING economists said in a note that the Fed had talked up the importance of the payrolls data for the inflation outlook, but they noted that wage growth had not caused the inflation and it would not be the reason that it ultimately falls. Meanwhile, China's factory activity shrank for the third straight month in December and at the sharpest pace in nearly three years as COVID-19 infections swept through production lines after Beijing's abrupt reversal of anti-virus measures. The Australian dollar fell 0.06% versus the greenback at $0.680, while the kiwi rose 0.19% at $0.633. The euro was mostly flat, while sterling was last trading at $1.2067, up 0.18% on the day.
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By Hannah Lang and Amanda Cooper WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar pared losses on Tuesday after China said it would scrap its COVID-19 quarantine rule for inbound travellers - a major step in reopening its borders that boosted risk-related currencies such as the Australian dollar. China will stop requiring arriving travellers to go into quarantine starting Jan. 8, the National Health Commission said on Monday, even as COVID cases spike. At the same time, Beijing downgraded regulations for managing COVID cases to the lighter Category B from the top-level Category A. The Aussie rose 0.22% versus the greenback to $0.674 in mostly thin trading during the year-end holiday season, while the New Zealand dollar gave up earlier gains, easing by 0.14% to $0.629. The two currencies are often used as liquid proxies for the Chinese yuan. The offshore yuan fell 0.12% to 6.9661 per dollar. "We've been in a very narrow trading range, and I think with the dollar firming up against the euro and yen, we could see further dollar gains against the Chinese currency," said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex. Still, investors could be cheered by what some perceive to be "Chinese policymakers' resolve to full reopening", said Christopher Wong, a currency strategist at OCBC. "There seems to be no let-up in the pace of relaxing COVID restrictions despite the surge in COVID cases in the mainland." Elsewhere, the euro fell 0.08% against the dollar to $1.0626. China's gradual dismantling of its economically-damaging zero-COVID policies may give the euro - which has clawed higher thanks to the European Central Bank taking a much harder line on inflation than investors had expected - an additional boost. With UK markets closed for a public holiday, trading in sterling was muted, leaving the pound down against the dollar at around $1.2022. The U.S. dollar index rose 0.134% to 104.220 Data released on Friday showed U.S. consumer spending barely rose in November while inflation cooled further, reinforcing expectations that the Federal Reserve could scale back its aggressive monetary policy tightening. "In line with its seasonal trend, December has been a soft month for the greenback," ING FX strategist Francesco Pesole said. "It's worth remembering that the dollar rose in each of the past four years in January. Our view for early 2023 is still one of dollar recovery." The Japanese yen fell 0.44% against the dollar to 133.45, despite a surge in short-term government bond yields to their highest in over seven-and-a-half years, following an auction that attracted relatively weak demand. Still, the yen is heading for its biggest quarterly rally against the dollar since 2008, with a rise of 8.1%, following a surprise decision last week by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to adjust its monetary policy. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Monday dismissed the chance of a near-term exit from ultra-loose monetary policy, even as markets and policymakers are signalling an increasing focus on what comes after Kuroda's tenure ends in April next year. "While ... (the) policy tweak has added uncertainty to the BOJ outlook, we continue to lean toward BOJ policymakers making no further policy adjustments through the end of 2023," analysts at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) said in a note. "Inflation pressures are expected to ease, which should lessen the BOJ's motivation for further policy moves." In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin was last down 0.33% at $16,775, while ether last fell 0.57% to $1,210.00. ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 9:55AM (1455 GMT) Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Dollar index 104.2300 104.1000 +0.13% 8.955% +104.4000 +103.8800 Euro/Dollar $1.0627 $1.0635 -0.07% -6.51% +$1.0670 +$1.0612 Dollar/Yen 133.4500 132.8500 +0.46% +15.93% +133.5850 +132.6400 Euro/Yen 141.80 141.32 +0.34% +8.81% +142.2700 +141.1500 Dollar/Swiss 0.9297 0.9315 -0.16% +1.96% +0.9329 +0.9270 Sterling/Dollar $1.2023 $1.2068 -0.37% -11.10% +$1.2112 +$1.2005 Dollar/Canadian 1.3501 1.3575 -0.54% +6.79% +1.3578 +1.3500 Aussie/Dollar $0.6742 $0.6732 +0.16% -7.24% +$0.6776 +$0.6726 Euro/Swiss 0.9879 0.9908 -0.29% -4.73% +0.9924 +0.9878 Euro/Sterling 0.8839 0.8814 +0.28% +5.23% +0.8857 +0.8801 NZ $0.6286 $0.6271 +0.26% -8.15% +$0.6318 +$0.6271 Dollar/Dollar Dollar/Norway 9.8265 9.8500 -0.52% +11.23% +9.8725 +9.7990 Euro/Norway 10.4443 10.4625 -0.17% +4.31% +10.5035 +10.4464 Dollar/Sweden 10.4633 10.4871 -0.32% +16.03% +10.5023 +10.4167 Euro/Sweden 11.1217 11.1574 -0.32% +8.67% +11.1638 +11.1068
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By Scott Murdoch SYDNEY (Reuters) - The yen surged and Asian shares fell sharply on Tuesday after Japan's central bank unexpectedly tweaked its bond yield controls - a move that will allow long-term interest rates to rise more. While the Bank of Japan kept broad policy settings unchanged it widened the allowable band for long-term yields to 50 basis points either side of that, from 25 basis points previously. That triggered an immediate spike in the yen with the greenback dropping 2.71% after the decision to 133.16, a four-month low. In turn, the Nikkei benchmark index slumped 2.71% after trading in positive territory earlier in the day. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.6%. The BOJ decision was taken as a signal that the forces which drove the yen to three-decade lows this year may be beginning to turn. "The move came earlier than I had expected but a step towards the normalisation process of policy in Japan," Kerry Craig, JP Morgan Asset Management's global markets strategist, told Reuters. "The market implications are most prevalent in the forex markets given the divergence between U.S. and Japanese policy settings. "While there is still a wide gap, the hint that the BOJ is moving incrementally away from ultraloose policy should be yen positive in the near term." Elsewhere in Asia, Australian shares extended earlier losses to be off by 1.54% in afternoon trade. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 1.9% while China's CSI300 Index was off 1.62%. In early European futures trading, the pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures were down 1.23% at 3,772, German DAX futures were down 1.32% at 13,832 and FTSE futures were down 0.83% at 7,306.5. U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, were down 0.85% at 3,812.8. In Asian trading, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 3.6825% compared with its U.S. close of 3.583% on Monday. The two-year yield, which rises with traders' expectations of higher Fed fund rates, was at 4.2848% compared to the US close of 4.262%. China's reopening to the rest of the world from nearly three years of COVID lockdowns continued to be a major concern for investors. Credit Suisse on Monday upgraded its outlook from neutral to outperform for China's equities markets in the year ahead. "The whole narrative of China has changed, it's gone from COVID zero that was putting the economy under pressure and there's now an intention to move towards a reopening," Suresh Tantia, Credit Suisse's senior investment strategist. "And as that happens, we will see an recovery in China's economy and markets." U.S. crude ticked up 0.41% to $75.5 a barrel. Brent crude rose to $79.87 per barrel. Spot gold was slightly higher at $1,790.83 per ounce. [GOL/]
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By Sruthi Shankar and Ankika Biswas (Reuters) -Wall Street's main stock indexes were set to open sharply lower on Thursday, as the Federal Reserve's guidance to stick to protracted policy tightening quelled hopes of the rate-hike cycle ending anytime soon. The U.S. central bank hiked rates by 50 basis points (bps) on Wednesday, slowing down from four back-to-back 75 bps hikes, although Fed Chair Jerome Powell said recent signs of slowing inflation have not brought any confidence yet that the fight had been won. The Fed's policy-setting committee projected it would continue raising rates to above 5% in 2023, a level not seen since a steep economic downturn in 2007. "The issue was the market was looking for rate cuts in 2023 and that's not compatible with any credible economic scenario because you'd need to have quite a collapse in economic activity and a speedy deterioration of the labor market," said Willem Sels, global CIO, private banking and wealth management at HSBC. Money market participants currently expect at least two 25 bps rate hikes next year and borrowing costs to peak at 4.9% by May next year, before falling to around 4.4% by year-end. Wall Street's main indexes have staged a strong recovery since hitting 2022 lows in October on hopes of a less aggressive Fed, but the rally stalled in December due to mixed economic data and worrying corporate forecasts. Investors also digested economic data on Thursday that showed a steeper-than-expected decline in retail sales in November and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits declining last week, indicating a tight labor market. "In some ways today's data reinforces what Powell was saying yesterday that this is going to take time and the market seems to want to try and fast forward through the messy parts and it's just not going to be able to do that because the Fed is not going to let it," said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Investment Institute. The Bank of England and the European Central Bank also raised their key interest rate by 50 bps each and indicated more likely hikes in a bid to tame spiraling inflation. At 8:57 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 358 points, or 1.05%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 54.25 points, or 1.35%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 194 points, or 1.63%. Shares of megacap companies, including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) fell more than 1% each in premarket trading. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc fell 2.9% after CEO Elon Musk disclosed another $3.6 billion in stock sales, taking his total near $40 billion this year and frustrating investors as the company's shares wallow at two-year lows. Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) slumped 4.8% after a media report said the entertainment services firm will let its advertisers take their money back after missing viewership targets. Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) Corp slipped 2.6% after HSBC Global Research began coverage on the chipmakers stock with a "reduce" rating, while Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) slid 5.2% following a report that Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) downgraded the data storage firm’s stock to "sell" from "neutral".
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By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares extended their rally on Monday as investors hoped steps to unwind pandemic restrictions in China would eventually brighten the outlook for global growth and commodity demand, nudging the dollar down against the yuan. The news helped oil prices firm as OPEC+ nations reaffirmed their output targets ahead of a European Union ban and price caps on Russian crude, which begin on Monday. [O/R] More Chinese cities announced an easing of coronavirus curbs on Sunday as Beijing tries to make its zero-COVID policy less onerous after recent unprecedented protests against restrictions. There were also reports Beijing might lower the threat classification for COVID-19, though clarity was lacking on timetables for future steps. "While the easing of some restrictions does not equate to a wholesale shift away from the dynamic COVID zero strategy just yet, it is further evidence of a shifting approach and financial markets look to be firmly focussed on the longer term outlook over the near-term hit to activity as virus cases look set to continue," said Taylor Nugent, an economist at NAB. Chinese blue chips gained 1.7%, on top of last week's 2.5% bounce, while the Hang Seng jumped 3.5%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 1.7% to a three-month top, after rallying 3.7% last week. Japan's Nikkei edged up 0.1%, while South Korea eased 0.4%. EUROSTOXX 50 futures added 0.1%, while FTSE futures were flat. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures both fell 0.1%. Wall Street had lost some momentum on Friday after November's robust U.S. payrolls report challenged hopes for a less aggressive Federal Reserve, though Treasuries still ended last week with solid gains. Indeed, 10-year note yields have fallen 74 basis points since early November, effectively undoing much of the tightening of the Fed's last outsized increase in cash rates. Markets are wagering Fed rates will top out at 5% and the European Central Bank around 2.5%. "But U.S. and Euro area labour demand remain surprisingly strong, and alongside a recent easing in financial conditions, the risks are shifting toward higher-than-anticipated terminal rates for both the Fed and the ECB," warns Bruce Kasman, head of economic research at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM). "The combination of labour market resilience with sticky wage inflation adds to the risk that the Fed will deliver a higher than 5% rate forecast at its upcoming meeting and that Chair Jerome Powell's press conference will shift to more open-ended guidance regarding any near-term ceiling on rates." DOLLAR VULNERABLE The Fed meets on Dec. 14 and the ECB the day after. Speaking on Sunday, French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau said he favoured a hike of half a point next week. Central banks in Australia, Canada and India are all expected to raise their rates at meetings this week. The steep decline in U.S. yields has taken a toll on the dollar, which fell 1.4% last week on a basket of currencies to its lowest since June. It lost 3.5% on the yen alone and last traded at 134.34, leaving October's peak of 151.94 a distant memory. The euro resumed it rise to $1.0578, having added 1.3% last week to its highest since early July. [USD/] The dollar also slipped under 7.0 yuan in offshore trade to hit the lowest in three months at 6.9677. The drop in the dollar and yields has been a boon for gold, which was up 0.5% at a four-month peak of $1,807 an ounce after rising 2.3% last week. [GOL/] Oil prices bounced after OPEC+ agreed to stick to its oil output targets at a meeting on Sunday. The Group of Seven and European Union states are due on Monday to impose a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne oil, though it was not yet clear what impact this would have on global supply and prices. Brent gained $1.67 to $87.24 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose $1.46 to $81.44 per barrel.
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By Jamie McGeever ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) -What many people saw as an open goal for the Federal Reserve chair on Wednesday, it seems Jerome Powell saw as a potential own goal. Nearly everyone expected him to use his eagerly awaited speech on the economic outlook and the labor market at the Brookings Institution think tank to push back on the significant easing of U.S. financial conditions in recent weeks. Looser financial conditions - higher equities, lower dollar and bond yields, tighter credit spreads - make it harder for the Fed to succeed in its fight to cool the economy and get inflation back down towards target. According to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)'s financial conditions index (FCI), they have loosened over the last two months despite two 75-basis points rate hikes and promises from Fed officials - including Powell - of more tightening to come. They have loosened significantly since Wall Street's cycle low in mid-October, and since the Fed's Nov. 2 policy meeting, leading most observers to think Powell would lean against markets on Wednesday, at least a bit. But he refused to do so and investors were caught miles offside: the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both recorded their second biggest rises in over two years, adding 3.1% and 4.4%, respectively. According to Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), the relief rally that engulfed risk assets produced the second-largest year-to-date easing in U.S. financial conditions, worth 30 basis points. Goldman's FCI fell 21 bps to its lowest since Sept. 12, overwhelmingly led by the move in equities. By this measure, financial conditions now are easier than they were before the Fed's September and November rate hikes. But in truth, what everyone assumed was the right thing for Powell to do on Wednesday - steer the market in the opposite direction - was probably not the right thing to do, and the Fed chief may have played it just right. The lagged effects of this year's 425 bps of rate hikes have still to play out in the economy and the "pain" that Powell has previously warned is coming will be felt next year. Several measures of inflation suggest price pressures have peaked and are now steadily declining. If all that is true, there may be less need to focus so heavily on financial conditions, and a more balanced monetary policy now is sensible. "This is a tacit change in messaging. We can take this as some degree of evidence that the Fed is willing to accept the easing of financial conditions in the past several weeks," said Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management. BLACKOUT PERIOD Economic and labor market data this week suggest the Fed's most aggressive rate-hiking cycle in four decades is starting to bite. The Chicago purchasing managers index, a measure of factory activity in the Midwest, and the national ISM manufacturing index both slumped in November to levels typically associated with recession. Meanwhile, private sector job growth across the country last month was far weaker than expected too. If these indicators are useful guides to broader trends in the coming months, the Fed is right to be cautious. Powell said on Wednesday that the Fed has already been "pretty aggressive" and does not want to "crash the economy and clean up afterward." To be clear, the Fed isn't completely turning its back on financial conditions. In his Q&A on Wednesday Powell repeated his view that a better barometer for policymakers is the extent to which real rates are positive. By this measure, financial conditions have tightened considerably in recent months. Inflation-adjusted Treasury yields hit their highest in over a decade last month, rebounding sharply from historically negative levels earlier this year. That said, the Fed chair knows the power of his words. He probably didn't anticipate such an outsized reaction, but he would have been well aware that investors were positioned for him to push back against the recent market rally and substantial easing of financial conditions. Economists at Piper Sandler argue that Powell did not say anything new, and note that markets usually rally after his public communications. If the Fed decides it does want to push back against the market's interpretation of his latest comments, it might have to wait. "The December FOMC blackout period starts on Saturday, so realistically the next opportunity for the Fed to correct market perception, again if needed, is the FOMC statement and press conference on Dec. 14," they wrote in a note on Thursday. (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.) Related columns: - Shifting central bank goal posts - Fed may harangue markets to prevent premature pivot (By Jamie McGeever; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - Shares hit a two-month high and the dollar swooped towards a three-month low on Thursday, after Federal Reserve signals of smaller interest rate rises from next month were followed by the message from Frankfurt that the ECB will plough on. With Wall Street shut for Thanksgiving, it was up to Europe to continue the rebound in market confidence that has been building for more than a month. It seemed a bit of a struggle early on when London's FTSE refused to budge, but there were just enough gains in the rest of Europe (EU) and in Asia [.SS][.T] overnight to ensure things kept shuffling forward. By lunch MSCI's 47-country index of world stocks was at its highest since mid-September, while German and British government bond yields, which drive Europe's borrowing costs, had fallen to their lowest levels since October and September respectively. (EU) "The Federal Reserve minutes signalled that some sensible voices are trying to drown out Fed Chair Powell’s relentless 'hike, hike, hike' chant," said UBS Chief Economist Paul Donovan. A "substantial majority" of Fed policymakers had agreed it would "likely soon be appropriate" to slow the pace of interest rate rises, the minutes released on Wednesday showed, although Donovan pointed out that there was no signal of an actual halt yet and various Fed members thought rates might need to go "somewhat higher" than expected. Futures markets show investors now see U.S. rates peaking just above 5% by May and are pricing in a roughly 75% chance that the Fed now switches to 50 basis point rises rather than the 75 bps it has been using recently. The ECB's equivalent minutes out on Thursday showed its rate setters fear that inflation may now be getting entrenched in the euro zone. "Incoming data so far suggest that the room for slowing down the pace of interest rate adjustments remains limited, even as we are approaching estimates of the 'neutral' rate," one of its most influential Executive Board members Isabel Schnabel said separately. For the currency markets, it meant the 7-week sell-off in the dollar continued. [/FRX] The euro rose as high as $1.0447, edging it closer to its recent four-month top of $1.0481, while the dollar weakened 0.6% against the Japanese yen to 138.70 yen and past $1.20 against sterling. "The dollar could stay pressured for a bit longer, but it's probably embedding a good deal of Fed-related negatives now," analysts at ING wrote. TURKEY ON THANKSGIVING The Fed wasn't the only focus. Sweden's crown nudged higher as its central bank increased its rates by three-quarters of a percentage point to 2.5% and signalled more next year. Germany's closely followed Ifo business climate index also rose more than expected, following on from some upbeat data from France too, while Turkey surprised no one as its slashed another 150 bps off its interest rates despite eyewateringly-high inflation of over 85%. The Turkish central bank said that it marked the end of its cuts, however with presidential elections next year creating doubts about that the lira carved down to new record low. Overnight, Asian markets had seen Japan's Nikkei and South Korean shares both rose around 1%. The Bank of Korea had reduced its pace of rate increases to 25 basis points. In Japan, data showed manufacturing activity had contracted at its fastest in two years. Chinese property stocks also stormed nearly 7% higher, after banks there pledged at least $38 billion in fresh credit lines to cash-strapped developers, although the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.25% as the country's COVID cases continued to surge. In the oil market, prices were slipping toward a major support level established in September. If they breach it, oil could tumble to levels not seen since before late 2021. Brent crude futures fell 0.3% to $85.13. U.S. crude oil futures eased 0.2% to $77.74 per barrel. They had tumbled more than 3% on Wednesday as the Group of Seven (G7) nations considered a price cap on Russian oil above the current market level. [O/R] Recession fears remain intense. Wednesday's post-Fed U.S. bond market moves had seen yields on 10-year notes drop to a huge 79-basis-point deficit relative to two-year yields. Such a curve inversion has not been seen since the dot-com bust of 2000 and, on the face of it, is a signal that investors expect a deep economic downturn in coming months.
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By Liz Moyer Investing.com --U.S. stocks were struggling for direction after new Covid-19 lockdowns in China brought back fears of a global growth slowdown. At 9:48 ET (14:48 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24 points or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 fell 0.2% and NASDAQ Composite was down 0.3%. China is locking down a major transportation hub in a district of Guangzhou, which is battling to control an outbreak of cases. Shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd ADR (NYSE:BABA) fell 3%. Travel stocks reacted negatively, with shares of Wynn Resorts Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) falling 2.5% and shares of major airlines such as United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) were flat. The airline sector in the U.S. will face a big test this week with people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. A shortage of pilots and airport staff, bad weather, and a surge of passengers this summer led to cancellations and problems with baggage handling. Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) shares jumped 9% after the company announced Bob Iger would return as CEO, taking over from Bob Chapek effective immediately. Later this week, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its most recent meeting, and analysts and investors will read closely for any clues as to the central bank’s thinking heading into its last meeting of the year. Many analysts are forecasting the Fed will raise rates again in December, but at a slightly smaller half-percentage point increment than at its four most recent meetings. Oil fell. Crude Oil WTI Futures was down 4.4% to $76.56 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures was down 4.6%, to $83.55 a barrel. Gold Futures fell 0.7% to $1,743.
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(Reuters) - The most important day for U.S. retailers is here and questions are rife on whether king dollar is set to lose its crown. Global purchasing managers data will shine a light on the health of the world economy, while markets want to see whether Beijing could step up some of its promised support. And the World Cup football bonanza is underway in Qatar. Here's a look at the week ahead in markets from Lewis Krauskopf in New York, Kevin Buckland in Tokyo and Amanda Cooper, Dara Ranasinghe and Karin Strohecker in London. 1/GOING SHOPPING With concerns that the U.S. economy may be on the verge of a recession, a key test of consumer demand arrives on Nov. 25, when retailers launch "Black Friday" sales - a day traditionally marked by long lines of shoppers eager to pounce on discounts. Soaring inflation and surging interest rates could test buying appetite. October U.S. retail sales increased more than expected, boosted by purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, suggesting the consumer may be on more solid footing heading into year-end. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Retailers have offered mixed results in the most recent earnings season. Just this week, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) lifted its annual sales and profit forecast as demand for groceries was expected to hold up despite higher prices, while Target (NYSE:TGT) forecast a surprise drop in holiday-quarter sales. 2/PAST THE PEAK The rise of the U.S. dollar has been the dominant trading theme of 2022, thanks to the Federal Reserve's quest to raise interest rates to quell inflation, giving the currency an edge over its peers among investors, who have been starved of any kind of yield for at least a decade. October's inflation report delivered evidence that consumer price pressures have slowed for the past four straight months from June's 41-year peak of 9.1%. The dollar index, meanwhile, peaked at a 20-year high of 114.78 in September and has been falling ever since. Now, it's heading for its biggest quarterly loss since the second quarter of 2017, having shed 4.5% in value. The time may be fast approaching for dollar bears to emerge from hibernation. 3/BLEAK OUT THERE The International Monetary Fund says the global economic outlook is even gloomier than it was a month ago. Is the pessimism justified? Preliminary readings of business activity in November from a number of economies could answer the question in the coming days. Manufacturing PMIs for October pointed to a deepening contraction in global industry, with developed markets leading the decline. In most European countries, PMIs are below the 50 marker that separates expansion from contraction -- France was an exception. Britain is already facing a lengthy recession. Euro zone economic growth has held up better than expected and labour markets remain relatively robust. But the risk of recession is still elevated for a region grappling with an energy shock and higher costs for anything from financing to wages. 4/ZEROING IN ON CHINA The Chinese central bank's pledge to step up supportive policy measures are in focus, though policymakers kept benchmark lending rates steady for a third straight month on Monday. Some had expected a cut in the five-year loan prime rate (LPR), though no change suggests the bank remains wary of stoking further yuan weakness by easing monetary conditions. Stocks and industrial metal markets had cheered signs of pro-growth initiatives, from help for the beleaguered property market to, crucially, an easing of choking zero-COVID policies. But the COVID outlook remains murky. Noises from Beijing are that "life-saving" measures are essential, which argues against making too much of a two-day reduction in quarantine times. Students in schools across several Beijing districts buckled down for online classes after officials called for residents in some of its hardest-hit areas to stay home. Other regional central banks will also be setting rates. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is tipped for a super-sized 75 basis point hike on Wednesday, while the Bank of Korea is seen tightening again, but possibly only by a quarter of a point. 5/ THE BEAUTIFUL GAME The football World Cup is finally underway - an event marred by controversy since Qatar was awarded hosting rights 12 years ago, including allegations of corruption and human rights violations. Qatar has much riding on the tournament passing off smoothly - hoping to affirm Doha's place on the global stage and for an economic boost. Higher consumption, government spending and services exports are all positives for the Gulf state that has seen its growth outlook trail some of its peers in a region buffeted by high crude prices. But it remains to be seen how long these effects might last, according to analysts. (Graphics by Sumanta Sen, Riddhima Talwani, Kripa Jayaram, Pasit Kongkunakornul and Vincent Flasseur; Compiled by Karin Strohecker; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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By Amanda Cooper LONDON (Reuters) -Global stocks rose on Monday, despite Beijing's denial that it would consider easing its zero COVID-19 policy, which diverted investor flows away from the dollar ahead of potentially pivotal consumer inflation data this week. Risk assets bounced on Friday due to speculation China was preparing to relax its pandemic restrictions, but over the weekend health officials reiterated their commitment to the "dynamic-clearing" approach to COVID cases as soon as they emerge. "We can question whether the China story has any veracity, but the market is quite happy to give it credence for the moment, despite the big denials," CIBC Capital Markets head of G10 currency strategy Jeremy Stretch said. The dollar came under pressure for a second day, as traders latched on to the idea that China could temper some of its restrictions, after the government on Monday indicated it will make it easier for people to enter and exit the capital. The dollar dropped against other major currencies, pushing the pound up by 0.8% to $1.1457 and boosting the euro by 0.2% to near-parity at $0.9980. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures edged higher, rising by 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. The biggest macroeconomic risk event this week will be the U.S. October consumer price index (CPI), which could influence investor expectations for the likely course of Federal Reserve monetary policy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell quashed speculation last week that the central bank could slow the pace of its rate rises, saying interest rates would likely stay higher, for longer. On Friday, the October employment report showed much faster job growth than expected, but slower wage growth and a rise in the unemployment rate, suggesting some of the tightness in the labour market may be easing. MEDIAN FORECASTS For Thursday, median forecasts are for annual inflation to slow to 8.0% and for the core to dip a tick to 6.5%. "If we can see a moderation in core CPI, which I think might be a little bit to imply that, but I think if we do see that, it will encourage this correction to run a little bit further," CIBC's Stretch said. Speculation that China, the world's largest commodity consumer, might open its economy lifted copper by 7% on Friday in its biggest one-day rally since 2009, while oil rose by more than 4%.[MET/L] [O/R] Four Federal Reserve policymakers on Friday indicated they would consider a smaller interest rate hike at their next policy meeting, sounding less hawkish than Chair Jerome Powell. There are at least seven Fed officials scheduled to speak this week, which will help refine the rate outlook with markets now narrowly leaning toward a half-point rate hike next month to 4.25-4.5%. "I don’t think the market will do much ahead of U.S. inflation data," said Massimiliano Maxia, senior fixed income specialist at Allianz (ETR:ALVG) Global Investors. "Markets expect a (Fed) rate hike of 50 bps in December and 25 bps early next year, but they are ready to change their view pretty quickly if consumer price numbers surprise on the upside," he added. Two-year Treasury yields, most sensitive to inflation and interest rate expectations, were last up 6 basis points on the day at 4.711%, off Friday's 2007 peak. Also of note will be midterm U.S. elections on Tuesday where Republicans could win control of one or both chambers and lead to deadlock on fiscal policy. Meanwhile, oil eased, surrendering some of last week's gains. Brent crude fell 0.7% to $97.96 a barrel, as did U.S. crude, to $91.91 a barrel.
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By Rae Wee SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The dollar firmed on Monday as sentiment soured after China said it is sticking with its strict COVID restrictions, quashing hopes of an imminent reopening in the world's second-largest economy which had earlier fired a broad rally in riskier assets. China said over the weekend that it will persevere with its "dynamic-clearing" approach to COVID-19 cases as soon as they emerge, giving little indication it would ease its outlier zero-COVID strategy nearly three years into the pandemic. The dollar gained 0.55% on the Chinese offshore yuan to 7.2141, while the risk-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars were also among the biggest losers, both falling nearly 1% in early Asia trade. The Aussie was last down 0.7% at $0.6426, while the kiwi fell 0.6% to $0.5893. The two currencies were huge beneficiaries of a broad rally on Friday - rising nearly 3% - as speculation that China could soon end its COVID restrictions gathered pace and buoyed risk appetite. "People are kind of thinking there's going to be an eventual opening ... but it's not obvious to me that there's an imminent reopening due, and I think it's kind of premature," said Alvin Tan, head of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets. The economic impact of China's zero-COVID policy was again highlighted in trade figures released on Monday, which showed exports and imports unexpectedly contracted in October, the first simultaneous slump since May 2020. Elsewhere, sterling edged 0.3% lower to $1.1340, while the euro slipped 0.1% to $0.9949, erasing some of their roughly 2% jump on Friday. "Any rally in the Aussie, as well as the other currencies, will likely prove short-lived, given China is still very committed to its approach to the COVID outbreaks," said Carol Kong, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) (CBA). Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was up 0.32% at 147.14. Investors were also assessing Friday's U.S. jobs report which showed that firms added a more-than-expected 261,000 jobs in October and hourly wages continued to rise, evidence of a still-tight labour market. But hints of some easing of market conditions, with the unemployment rate rising to 3.7%, fuelled hopes that the much sought after Fed pivot could be on the horizon, capping the dollar's gains. Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar index last stood at 111.02. It had lost almost 2% at the end of last week. "It was, overall, a pretty mixed report," said CBA's Kong. "Judging by market reaction, investors really focused on the lift in unemployment rate, and that might have led to market participants scaling back their expectations on the Fed funds rate." Four Federal Reserve policymakers on Friday also indicated they would still consider a smaller interest rate hike at their next policy meeting. Fed funds futures now show that markets are pricing in a 69% chance of a 50-basis-point rate hike at the Fed's December meeting, with the next key data point being Thursday's U.S. inflation figures.
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By Liz Moyer Investing.com -- U.S. stocks rose after October’s jobs report stoked expectations for a smaller interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve next month. At 10:36 ET (14:36 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 535, or 1.7%, while the S&P 500 rose 1.8% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 1.7%. The Labor Department's highly anticipated report said the nation’s unemployment rate inched up to 3.7% last month, compared with expectations of 3.6%. The economy added nonfarm payrolls by 261,000, better than the expected 200,000 after rising to 263,000 the month before that. The Fed has been combating inflation by raising its benchmark rate 0.75 percentage points for four straight meetings, including on Wednesday. But it could start to ease off that pace if data supports the case that the economy is cooling. One of its trickier jobs is to stop inflation in its tracks without tipping the economy into a recession, and the major job losses associated with that. Still, Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the Fed’s policy rate might ultimately exceed the central bank’s estimated target. Shares of Twilio Inc (NYSE:TWLO), a cloud communications company, sank 33% and touched a new 52-week low after forecasting fourth quarter revenue that would be up from the same period last year but would be short of Wall Street estimates. It also withdrew a full-year estimate. Sports betting site DraftKings Inc (NASDAQ:DKNG) stock fell 22% after its quarterly monthly unique visitors fell short of expectations, though it beat third quarter estimates and raised its outlook. Oil jumped. Crude Oil WTI Futures was up 4.7% to $92.38 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures was up 4% to $98.54 a barrel. Gold Futures rose 2.8% to $1677.
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By Amruta Khandekar (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes fell on Monday, bogged down by a drop in shares of Apple and other megacaps, while investors braced for a hefty rate hike from the Federal Reserve this week and assessed the path of future interest rates. The U.S. Fed is set to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, where policymakers are expected to deliver a fourth straight 75-basis point interest rate hike to curb decades-high inflation. Communication from Fed officials after the decision as well as well as non-farm payrolls data this week will offer further clues on whether the central bank could tone down its aggressive stance on interest rates in the future. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) dropped 2.1% in early trading. A Reuters report said production of its iPhones could slump by as much as 30% next month due to tightening COVID-19 curbs in China. Shares of other megacaps including Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google-owner Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Meta Platforms were down between 0.8% and 3%. Among sectors, information technology and communication services were the lead decliners, falling 1.6% and 1.9% respectively. Hopes for a less hawkish Fed as well as better-than-expected earnings from companies outside the technology sector had led to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, notching their second straight week of gains on Friday. Both the indexes are also set to record gains in October after two straight months of declines. The Dow Jones, meanwhile, could see its biggest monthly rise in over four decades depending on the day's moves. "You have a convergence of the labor market and the Fed together, and so it should make it a very questionable market week in terms of the direction," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. "We'll be hearing from Fed Chair Powell on Wednesday and his words probably mean more than his actions. If his tone, if his language begins to moderate somewhat, that will continue to be positive for stocks." Traders are nearly equally split in their expectations of the Fed delivering a smaller interest rate hike at its next policy meeting, with odds of a 50 basis point rate hike in December standing at 47.9%, according to CME Group's (NASDAQ:CME) Fedwatch tool. Along with the Fed, U.S. mid-term elections will also set the tone for markets in November. At 10:14 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 184.99 points, or 0.56%, at 32,676.81, the S&P 500 was down 33.15 points, or 0.85%, at 3,867.91, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 145.57 points, or 1.31%, at 10,956.88. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.65-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and 1.56-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 63 new highs and 47 new lows. Among single stocks, TuSimple Holdings plunged 45% after the trucking firm said its board terminated its chief executive officer.
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US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: FOUR CHINESE NATIONALS, INCLUDING THREE INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS, HAVE BEEN CHARGED IN A SPY RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN.
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By Isabel Kua SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Oil prices slid on Tuesday, extending losses of nearly 2% in the previous session, as a stronger U.S. dollar and a flare-up in COVID-19 cases in China raised concerns of slowing global demand. Brent crude futures fell 21 cents, or 0.2%, to $95.98 a barrel by 0618 GMT, after falling $1.73 in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $90.82 a barrel, down 31 cents, or 0.3%, after losing $1.51 in the previous session. The dollar hit multi-year highs on Tuesday, with worries about rising interest rates and geopolitical tensions unsettling investors. [FRX/] A strong greenback reduces demand for oil by making it more expensive for buyers using other currencies. Rate increases to date were starting to slow the economy and the full brunt of tighter policy would not be felt for months to come, Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard said on Monday. "Strong jobs data has strengthened expectations of another 75 basis points rate hike at next month's Fed meeting, leaving downside risk for global oil demand," said ANZ Research analysts in a note. The sustained zero COVID-19 policy in China ahead of the Communist Party Congress is "not helping" demand, the analysts added. COVID-19 cases in the world's second-largest oil consumer rose to their highest since August. Its services activity in September contracted for the first time in four months, as pandemic restrictions weighed. In response to the rise in cases, Chinese authorities have stepped up testing in Shanghai and other megacities, as well as extending quarantine times and closing some public spaces where the virus could spread. Capping losses, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+, decided last week to lower their output target by 2 million barrels per day, further raising concerns about tightening oil supplies. "More critical is the bullish signal OPEC+ sends here by responding to short-term market dynamics and trying to stabilise or raise prices despite the medium view that demand growth will outpace supply growth for the remainder of the year," said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management. "We are back on the teeter-totter trying to weigh this week's economic demand malaise versus tight market," Innes added. EU sanctions on Russian crude and oil products will take effect in December and February, respectively, while the bloc last week gave its final approval for a new batch of sanctions against Russia including a price cap on Russian oil exports. India maintains a "healthy dialogue" with Russia and will look at what is offered following an announced ownership revamp to the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told Reuters. On Friday, Russia issued a decree allowing it to seize Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM)'s 30% stake and gave a Russian state-run company the authority to decide whether foreign shareholders including India's ONGC Videsh can retain their participation in the project.
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By Noah Browning LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices steadied on Monday, recovering from earlier losses, as investors weighed potentially tight supply against economic storm clouds that could foreshadow a global recession and erosion of fuel demand. Brent crude futures for December settlement fell by as much as 1.1% but recovered to being down 17 cents, or 0.2%, at $97.75 a barrel by 1353 GMT. West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery declined by as much as 1.1% but was last at $92.62, down 2 cents. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+, decided last week to lower their output target by 2 million barrels per day. Brent and WTI posted their biggest weekly percentage gains since March after the reduction was announced. The OPEC+ cuts will squeeze supply in an already tight market. EU sanctions on Russian crude and oil products will take effect in December and February respectively. Concerns over still relatively robust demand as the pandemic has eased meeting potentially scarce supply have been deepened as the European Union late last week endorsed a G7 plan to impose a price cap on Russian oil exports. The complicated new sanctions package could end up shutting in considerable supplies of Russia crude, analysts have warned. "A recessionary economic outlook will lead to lower oil demand," Fitch Ratings said on Monday. "However, we expect pricing volatility to remain high in the short term as geopolitical factors, such as further sanctions leading to a reduction in Russian exports ... could significantly shift supply patterns and cause large fluctuations in prices." Meanwhile, services activity in China during September contracted for the first time in four months as COVID-19 restrictions hit demand and business confidence, data showed on Saturday. The slowdown in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer behind the United States, adds to growing concerns over a possible global recession triggered by numerous central banks raising interest rates to combat high inflation.
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By Amanda Cooper LONDON (Reuters) -Global shares fell on Monday after a series of explosions in the Ukrainian capital and renewed concern about the economic outlook sent investors into safe-haven assets such as the dollar and bonds. Any belief that the Federal Reserve will shift to a softer stance towards monetary policy was extinguished on Friday by data that showed unemployment fell in September, signalling a labour market that is not suffering from red-hot inflation. The dollar held firm against a basket of currencies, while a number of market-based measures of investor risk nervousness showed another increase. Russian missile strikes during Monday's rush hour across Ukraine killed at least five people in the capital Kyiv, in apparent revenge bombings after President Vladimir Putin declared an explosion on the bridge to Crimea to be a terrorist attack. "I had wondered if markets were looking at the situation in Ukraine and thinking this was moving us toward an end - which was what the first reaction was to the progress that the Ukrainian army had made in the summer. That reaction is no longer happening and this is clearly seen as just an increase in tension, rather than the end of anything," Societe Generale (OTC:SCGLY) head of currency strategy Kit Juckes said. "We’ve got geopolitical tensions and we’re still on track towards tighter monetary policy in the States and the concern is still by the time they finished tightening, will they have tightened too much and leave the economy looking pretty vulnerable?," he added. The MSCI All-World index fell 0.5% in early trading in Europe, down for a fourth day in a row. The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.5% to its lowest in a week, while Germany's DAX lost 0.1% and the FTSE 100 fell 0.7%, making it one of the weaker performing indices. S&P 500 futures fell 0.5%, while those on the Nasdaq lost 0.6%. Wall Street sank on Friday after an upbeat payrolls report cemented expectations for another large rate hike. Futures imply a more than 80% chance of rates rising by 75 basis points next month, while the European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to match that and the Bank of England to hike by at least 100 basis points. CORE MEASURE U.S. consumer inflation is expected to have moderated to an annual 8.1%, but the core measure is forecast to have accelerated to 6.5% from 6.3%. The U.S. CPI data is due on Thursday. "We are in the midst of the largest and most synchronized tightening of global monetary policy in more than three decades," said Bruce Kasman head of economic research at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), who expects hikes of 75 basis points from all three of the central banks. "The September CPI report should show a moderation in goods prices that is a likely harbinger of a broader slowing in core inflation," he said. "But the Fed will not be responsive to a whisper of inflation moderation as long as labour markets shout tightness." Minutes of the Fed's last policy meeting are also out this week and are likely to sound hawkish given how many policy makers lifted their dot plot forecasts for rates. Although U.S. inflation and the Fed's response to it remain front and centre of investors' minds, euro zone government bonds got a boost from the pickup in investor risk aversion. German 10-year Bund yields, which serve as the region's benchmark, eased 3 basis points to 2.162%, while the more sensitive 2-year Schatz fell 8 bps to 1.787%. Adding another note of caution was 2% drop in Chinese blue-chip stocks , following a survey that showed the first contraction in services activity in four months. EARNINGS TEST Corporate earnings also kick off on Friday, with JPMorgan, Citi, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) reporting results. "Consensus expects 3% year/year EPS growth, 13% sales growth, and 75 bp margin contraction to 11.8%," analysts at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said in a note. "Excluding Energy, EPS is expected to fall by 3% and margins to contract by 132 bp." "We expect smaller positive surprises in 3Q compared with 1H 2022 and negative revisions to 4Q and 2023 consensus estimates." The dollar index rose 0.3% to 113.14, leaving the euro down 0.4% at $0.9697 and the yen flat at 145.45, a whisker away from the recent 24-year high of 145.90 that prompted Japanese intervention. [USD/] Sterling lost 0.3% to $1.10625, after the Bank of England announced a surprise decision to shore up the gilt market ahead of the end of an emergency bond-buying programme on Friday. [nL8N31B0VI] Oil fell for the first time in a week, as investors took profit on last week's 11% rally after a deal on supply reductions by OPEC+. [O/R] Brent fell 0.7% to $97.26 a barrel, while U.S. crude dropped 0.6% to $92.08 a barrel.
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By Isabel Kua SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday as expectations that OPEC+ may agree to a large cut in crude output when it meets on Wednesday offset concerns about the global economy. Brent crude futures rose 46 cents, or 0.5%, to $89.32 per barrel by 0629 GMT after gaining more than 4% in the previous session. U.S. crude futures rose 30 cents, or 0.4%, to $83.93 a barrel. The benchmark gained more than 5% in the previous session, its largest daily gain since May. Oil prices rallied on Monday on renewed concerns about supply tightness. Investors expect that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known collectively as OPEC+, will cut output by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) at their first in-person meeting since 2020 on Wednesday. Voluntary cuts by individual members could come on top of this, making it their largest cut since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, OPEC sources said. "Despite everything going on with the war in Ukraine, OPEC+ has never been this strong and they will do whatever it takes to make sure prices are supported here," said Edward Moya, a senior analyst with OANDA, in a note. OPEC+ has boosted output this year after record cuts put in place in 2020 due to demand destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But in recent months, the organisation has failed to meet its planned output increases, missing in August by 3.6 million bpd. "Whilst OPEC+ might announce a large cut (in excess of 1 million bpd), in reality, the cut could be much smaller. This is due to most OPEC+ members producing well below their target production levels," ING analysts said in a note. The production cut being considered was justified by the sharp decline in oil prices from recent highs, said Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), adding that this reinforced its bullish oil view. Concerns about the global economy could cap the upside, said Tina Teng, an analyst at CMC Markets, as investors also look to take profit on gains made in the previous session. "Uncertainties remain in the global markets, such as bond market turmoil, the sell-off in risk assets, and a skyrocketing U.S. dollar," said Teng. Oil prices have dropped for four straight months as COVID-19 lockdowns in top oil importer China curbed demand while interest rate hikes and a soaring U.S. dollar pressured global financial markets. Major central banks have embarked on the most aggressive round of rate rises in decades, sparking fears of a global economic slowdown. U.S. crude oil stocks were estimated to have increased by around 2 million barrels in the week to Sept. 30, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.
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By Florence Tan and Muyu Xu SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Oil prices jumped more than 3% in early Asian trade on Monday, as OPEC+ considers cutting output by more than 1 million barrels a day, for its biggest reduction since the pandemic, in a bid to support the market. Brent crude futures rebounded $2.36, or 2.8%, to $87.50 a barrel by 0622 GMT, after settling down 0.6% on Friday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 2.9%, or $2.27, at $81.76 a barrel, after the previous session's loss of 2.1%. Oil prices have tumbled for four straight months since June, as COVID-19 lockdowns in top energy consumer China hurt demand, while rising interest rates and a surging U.S. dollar weighed on global financial markets. To support prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, is considering an output cut of more than 1 million bpd ahead of Wednesday's meeting, OPEC+ sources told Reuters. If agreed, it will be the group's second consecutive monthly cut after reducing output by 100,000 bpd last month. But analysts expect the hit to supply from the cut will be markedly lower than the headline number, as many OPEC+ members are producing far less than their quotas. With just a handful of producers hitting output targets, it is likely that only they would have to cut, ING analysts said in a note. OPEC+ missed its production targets by nearly 3 million bpd in July, two sources from the producer group said, as sanctions on some members and low investment by others stymied its ability to raise output. "Anything less than 500,000 barrels a day would be shrugged off by the market. Therefore, we see a significant chance of a cut as large as 1 million barrels a day," ANZ analysts said in a note. While prompt Brent prices could strengthen further in the immediate short term, concerns over a global recession are likely to limit the upside, consultancy FGE said. "If OPEC+ does decide to cut output in the near term, the resultant increase in OPEC+ spare capacity will likely put more downward pressure on long-dated prices," it said in a note on Friday. Also on Friday, China issued its biggest quota for exports of oil products this year and topped up crude import quotas for independent refiners. State and private refiners can export as much as 15 million tonnes of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and low-sulphur fuel oil, adding much needed supplies into global markets to replace Russian exports the European Union embargoed in February. However, analysts and traders said some of China's exports were likely to spill over into early 2023 as refiners will need time to ramp up. The dollar index fell for a fourth consecutive day on Monday after touching its peak in two decades. A cheaper dollar could bolster the appetite of oil buyers who use other currencies and support oil prices.
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By Tom Balmforth KYIV (Reuters) - The United States warned on Sunday of "catastrophic consequences" if Moscow uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, after Russia's foreign minister said regions holding widely criticised referendums would get full protection if annexed by Moscow. Votes were staged for a third day in four eastern Ukrainian regions, aimed at annexing territory Russia has taken by force. The Russian parliament could move to formalise the annexation within days. By incorporating the areas of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia into Russia, Moscow could portray efforts to retake them as attacks on Russia itself, a warning to Kyiv and its Western allies. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States would respond to any Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine and had spelled out to Moscow the "catastrophic consequences" it would face. "If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia," Sullivan told NBC's "Meet the Press" television program. "The United States will respond decisively." The latest U.S. warning followed a thinly veiled nuclear threat made on Wednesday by President Vladimir Putin, who said Russia would use any weapons to defend its territory. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the point more directly at a news conference on Saturday after a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York in which he repeated Moscow's false claims to justify the invasion that the elected government in Kyiv was illegitimately installed and filled with neo-Nazis. Asked if Russia would have grounds for using nuclear weapons to defend annexed regions, Lavrov said Russian territory, including territory "further enshrined" in Russia's constitution in the future, was under the "full protection of the state". British Prime Minister Liz Truss said Britain and its allies should not heed threats from Putin, who had made what she called a strategic mistake as he had not anticipated the strength of reaction from the West. "We should not be listening to his sabre-rattling and his bogus threats," Truss told CNN in an interview broadcast on Sunday. "Instead, what we need to do is continue to put sanctions on Russia and continue to support the Ukrainians." 'BOGUS THREATS' Ukraine and its allies have dismissed the referendums as a sham designed to justify an escalation of the war and a mobilisation drive by Moscow after recent battlefield losses. Russian news agencies quoted unidentified sources as saying the Russian parliament could debate bills to incorporate the new territories as soon as Thursday. State-run RIA Novosti said Putin could address parliament on Friday. Russia says the referendums, hastily organised after Ukraine recaptured territory in a counteroffensive this month, enable people in those regions to express their view. Luhansk's regional governor said Russian-backed officials were going door to door with ballot boxes and if residents failed to vote correctly their names were taken down. "A woman walks down the street with what looks like a karaoke microphone telling everyone to take part in the referendum," Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said in an interview posted online. "Representatives of the occupation forces are going from apartment to apartment with ballot boxes. This is a secret ballot, right?" The territory controlled by Russian forces in the four regions represents about 15% of Ukraine, of roughly the size of Portugal. It would add to Crimea, an area nearly the size of Belgium that Russia claims to have annexed in 2014. Ukrainian forces still control some territory in each region, including about 40% of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia's provincial capital. Heavy fighting continued along the entire front, especially in northern Donetsk and in Kherson. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who insists that Ukraine will regain all its territory, said on Sunday some of the clashes had yielded "positive results" for Kyiv. "This is the Donetsk region, this is our Kharkiv region. This is the Kherson region, and also the Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia regions," he said in nightly video remarks. In a statement on Facebook (NASDAQ:META), the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said Russia had launched four missile and seven air strikes and 24 instances of shelling on targets in Ukraine in the past 24 hours, hitting dozens of towns, including some in and around the Donetsk and Kherson regions. Reuters could not independently verify the accounts. PROTESTS IN RUSSIA OVER DRAFT On Wednesday, Putin ordered Russia's first military mobilization since World War Two. The move triggered protests across Russia and sent many men of military age fleeing. Two of Russia's most senior lawmakers tackled on Sunday a string of mobilisation complaints, ordering regional officials to swiftly solve "excesses" stoking public anger. More than 2,000 people have been detained across Russia for draft protests, says independent monitoring group OVD-Info. In Russia, where criticism of the conflict is banned, the demonstrations are among the first signs of discontent since the war began. In the Muslim-majority southern Russian region of Dagestan, police clashed with protesters, with at least 100 people detained. Zelenskiy acknowledged the protests in his video address. "Keep on fighting so that your children will not be sent to their deaths - all those that can be drafted by this criminal Russian mobilisation," he said. "Because if you come to take away the lives of our children - and I am saying this as a father - we will not let you get away alive."
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By Julia Payne LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices dumped on Friday to trade at levels not seen since January as the dollar index hit its strongest level in two decades and on demand fears as rising interest rates risked tipping major economics into recession. Brent crude futures fell $3.74, or 4.13%, to $86.72 a barrel by 1313 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were also down by $3.98, or 4.77%, to $79.51 a barrel. Front-month Brent and WTI contracts were down 5.28% and 6.80% respectively over the past week. Global equities hit a two-year low on Friday while the dollar index reached its highest level in two decades, putting downward pressure on oil. "Weak European PMIs, growth concerns as result of aggressive monetary policy tightening in the US and Europe are weighing on risk assets. Oil prices are not immune to those growth concerns," Giovanni Staunovo, analyst at UBS, said. A downturn in business activity across the euro zone deepened in September, a survey showed, suggesting that a recession is looming as consumers rein in spending to contend with a cost of living crisis. "European equity gauges are ending the week on a negative note amid fears that rate hikes will push major economies into recession," PVM Oil Associates said in a note. Russia launched referendums on Friday aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine, which Kyiv called an illegal sham that it said included threats to residents if they do not vote. After the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a hefty 75 basis points on Wednesday, central banks around the world followed suit with hikes of their own, raising the risk of economic slowdowns. In Britain, meanwhile, the pound fell to a 37-year low and government bonds crashed after the new finance minister announced historic tax cuts and huge increases to borrowing. On the oil supply side, efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have stalled as Tehran insists on the closure of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's investigations, a senior U.S. State Department official said, easing expectations of a resurgence of Iranian crude oil exports.
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**JustinWolfers:** “I signed a letter... saying that Trump won the election, and, damn it, I stand by my letter... I’m not switching horses, baby. This is it," he said, four weeks and one primary win before reversing his position just in time for the general election. https://t.co/YDZmDvg58p https://twitter.com/JustinWolfers/status/1570892627230494720
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By Anshuman Daga and Tom Westbrook SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian stocks advanced on Tuesday and the dollar steadied below a recent peak ahead of U.S. inflation data that some strategists said could offer another signal that inflation has peaked. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures held firm, while European stock futures dipped, setting the stage for a subdued start for European markets. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan rose 0.8%, led by a 2.6% jump for South Korea's KOSPI. Japan's Nikkei put on 0.2%. [.KS][.T] The MSCI gauge has risen for four days in a row, bouncing back from two-year lows. Analysts, however, warned that U.S. core inflation is likely to march on and that the near-term rate implications are unclear. "It's too early to be celebrating the end of inflation, as some market participants seem already to be doing," said ING economist Rob Carnell. U.S. crude is hovering below $90 a barrel, down nearly 30% since the middle of June and roughly where it traded before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. [O/R] Interest rate futures imply a 90% chance that the Federal Reserve lifts its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points at next week's policy meeting - a position that is perhaps most vulnerable to a downside CPI surprise. "A further cooling in inflation would support the case for a step down in the pace of policy tightening to a 50 basis points rate hike at the FOMC meeting next week," said Kristina Clifton, a senior economist at CBA. "Nevertheless, an upside surprise to inflation will easily cement market expectations of another outsized 75 basis points rate hike." U.S. inflation figures are due at 1230 GMT and the consensus is for the core inflation rate last month to have risen 0.3% month-on-month, the same as in July. On Monday, Wall Street indexes posted a fourth straight session of gains. DOLLAR BELOW RECENT PEAK Asia data out on Tuesday offered a cloudy picture of regional economies. A 9% year-on-year jump in Japanese wholesale prices points to pressure on corporate margins, yet a slowdown in gains for August holds some hope of relief. In New Zealand, rate hikes which began a year ago are starting to bite, sending home prices down 6% since last August. The investment banking world is also offering a counterpoint to stock markets' enthusiasm. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is mulling job cuts, a person familiar with the plans told Reuters. A KKR-led consortium has told Australia's Ramsay Health Care it will not improve its $14.5 billion cash-and-stock offer for the hospital operator, a move that will likely put a deal on ice. In currency markets the dollar is off recent peaks. Its index against major peers was steady at 108.16, after falling 0.7% overnight, the largest daily decline since August. Tailwinds from last week's European rate hike have the euro extending a bounce and above parity at $1.0127. [FRX/] Even the battered Japanese yen is having a breather at 142.5 per dollar - a bit stronger than last week's 24-year low at 144.99 with some investors closing bets on a further slide as risks of official intervention increase. U.S. Treasury yields rose overnight after some lacklustre auctions. Selling was heaviest at the very long end, with the 30-year yield up about 6 bps to around 3.5%. Benchmark 10-year yields steadied at 3.3425% in Tokyo trade on Tuesday, beneath the two-year yield of 3.5489%. [US/] Gold was steady at $1,722 an ounce.
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(In Sept 7 story, corrects headline to note biggest pct gain in four weeks, not four-week high) By Carolina Mandl and Chuck Mikolajczak (Reuters) -U.S. stock indexes climbed the most in roughly a month as bond yields eased, with investors shrugging off hawkish remarks made by Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday. The last time the Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a higher one-day percentage jump was on Aug 10, although investors doubt this is a long-lasting trend. The technology-heavy Nasdaq led gains among the main indexes, snapping a seven-session losing streak. U.S. stocks have sold off sharply since mid-August after hawkish comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell were compounded by signs of an economic slowdown in Europe and China and aggressive steps by major central banks to tame inflation. Data signaling strength in the U.S. economy has prompted traders to bet on a 75-basis-point interest rate hike by the Fed later this month. Fed fund futures implied investors were pricing in a more than 76% chance of such a move. The 10-year Treasury yield slipped from three-month highs hit earlier in the session, boosting shares of rate-sensitive stocks such as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN). High-growth companies such as those in the tech sector tend to benefit when yields go down as it means a lower discount rate on their future profits when investors are calculating valuations. Still, investors are looking for more outward signs of how Federal Reserve rate hikes will unfold to tame a surging inflation before its next meeting later this month. "The bond markets behaving a little bit better today which is giving the stock market a little bit of a better feeling, but the big worries are still what the Fed is going to do on Sep 21. So we're seeing a back and forth tug-of-war each day," said Brent Schutte, Chief Investment Officer at Northwestern (NASDAQ:NWE) Mutual Wealth Management Company. Stocks' performance also ignored hawkish comments by Federal Reserve earlier on Wednesday. Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said the high cost of U.S. rental accommodation has not yet fully filtered through to inflation measures, suggesting inflation may still rise further. Meanwhile, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said the U.S. central bank must lift interest rates to a level that restrains economic activity and keep them there until policymakers are "convinced" that inflation is subsiding, while Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard added the monetary policy will need to be restrictive "for some time." The main focus will be on Powell's speech on Thursday and U.S. consumer price data next week for clues on the path of monetary policy. The Fed's "Beige Book", a periodic snapshot of the health of the U.S. economy, indicated that price pressures are expected to persist at least through the end of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 435.98 points, or 1.4%, to 31,581.28, the S&P 500 gained 71.68 points, or 1.83%, to 3,979.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 246.99 points, or 2.14%, to 11,791.90. Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were trading higher, led by a jump in utilities, reflecting the defensive positioning by investors due to economic uncertainties. The energy index fell 1.16% as oil prices tumbled about 5% on demand worries related to looming recession risks. Brent crude fell below $90 a barrel. Nio (NYSE:NIO) Inc reversed earlier losses and ended the session up 2.16% after the Chinese electric vehicle maker reported a bigger second-quarter adjusted net loss but revenue topped expectations. Coupa Software (NASDAQ:COUP) Inc jumped almost 18% after the payment management software firm beat second-quarter estimates for revenue and profit. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.21 billion shares, compared with the 10.43 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.07-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.60-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted 6 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 24 new highs and 231 new lows.
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Biden Set To Freeze Student-loan Repayment For Four More Months
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By Alun John HONG KONG (Reuters) - The euro was at a two-decade low, stocks languished and German bond yields hit an eight-week high on Wednesday as investor sentiment soured under the weight of high energy prices, a batch of poor global economic data, and more inflation fears. Renewed concerns central banks will keep hiking interest rates aggressively to tame red hot inflation were also high on investors' minds ahead of the closely-watched Jackson Hole central banking symposium which begins on Thursday. The European common currency tumbled 0.4% against the dollar to $0.9925, trading just above its 20 year intraday low hit a day earlier. Sterling suffered too, losing 0.52%. The risk-off mood could also be seen in share markets where the MSCI world equity index, dipped 0.2% to a three week low. Britain's FTSE100 shed 0.5%, though gains from defensive stocks helped the pan-European stocks index STOXX 600 to advance 0.2% after touching a four-week low in early trade. Moves were due to "the combination of the Fed and other central banks sticking with their inflation mandate, and at the same time the latest economic indicators showing signs of weakness not just in Europe, but also in the U.S. and Japan," said Tai Hui, chief market strategist for Asia at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Asset Management. Wednesday is fairly quiet on the data front, but poor economic activity reports the previous day from the euro zone - which reported a contraction for a second straight month - the United States and Japan, continued to hurt appetite for riskier assets, such as stocks. Energy prices are also a factor, with Dutch gas contracts, the benchmark for Europe, regaining previous day's losses and trading near their five-and-a-half month high hit on Monday. [NG/EU] Energy costs are a major driver of inflation, and expectations the European Central Bank will step up its rate hikes to bring it under control helped push Germany's 10-year government bond yield, the benchmark for the block, to a fresh eight-week high of 1.38%. Markets are also now repricing their expectations for Federal Reserve rate hikes after speculation their pace could slow boosted stocks early in the month. "Maybe two or three weeks ago, markets were thinking the Fed may be done with hiking rates by the end of this year and cutting rates in 2023, and that sequence of events now doesn't look like it's happening," Hui said. That shift had pushed the yield on U.S. benchmark 10 year treasuries back above 3% early in this week, he added. It was last 3.0573%. Traders have been raising their expectations on where the Fed funds rate might peak, with current pricing pointing toward around 3.7% in the middle of 2023. CHINA SLIDE China provided another reason for concern about the global economy, with a slide in property stocks serving as another reminder of the deep hole that developers are in without access to easy credit. An index of Hong Kong listed builders fell to a 10-year low. (HK) "People are still trying to understand the full extent of the detrimental effects as it has multiple repercussions," said Samuel Siew, a market specialist at CGS-CIMB in Singapore. "It's still very hard to actually measure the entire severity of the situation. That is what markets are trying to decipher, and whether ongoing support is sufficient." Oil recovered from early losses. Brent crude futures rose 0.9% to $101.1 a barrel - still affected by talk of Saudi supply cuts. U.S. crude futures gained 1% to $94.75. [O/R] Spot gold held steady at $1,747 an ounce. Bitcoin still bore the scars from a sudden slide at the end of last week, parked at $21,300.
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By Balazs Koranyi FRANKFURT (Reuters) - It was meant to be Europe's stellar year. A post-pandemic spending euphoria, supported by copious government spending was set to drive the economy and help fatigued households regain a sense of normality after two dreadful years. But all that changed on Feb. 24 with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Normality is gone and crisis has become permanent. A recession is now almost certain, inflation is nearing double digits and a winter with looming energy shortages is fast approaching. Though bleak, this outlook is still likely to get worse before any significant improvement well into 2023. "Crisis is the new normal," says the Alexandre Bompard, the Chief Executive of retailer Carrefour (EPA:CARR). "What we have been used to in the last decades - low inflation, international trade - it's over," he told investors. The change is dramatic. A year ago most forecasters predicted 2022 economic growth near 5%. Now a winter recession is becoming the base case. " onerror="this.style.display='none'" class="msg-img" /> Households and businesses are both suffering as the fallout of the war - high food and energy prices - is now exacerbated by a devastating drought and low river levels that constrain transport. At 9%, inflation in the euro area is at levels not seen in a half a century and it is sapping purchasing power with spare cash used up on petrol, natural gas and staple food. Retail sales are already plunging, months before the heating season starts and shoppers are scaling down their buys. In June, retail sales volumes were down nearly 4% from a year earlier, led by a 9% drop recorded in Germany. Consumers turn to discount chains and give up high end products, switching to discount brands. They have also started to skip certain purchases. "Life is becoming more expensive and consumers are reluctant to consume," Robert Gentz, the co-CEO of German retailer Zalando, told reporters. Businesses have so far coped well thanks to superb pricing power due to persistent supply constraints. But energy intensive sectors are already suffering. Close to half of Europe's aluminium and zinc smelting capacity is already offline while much of fertilizer production, which relies on natural gas, has been shut. Tourism has been the rare bright spot with people looking to spend some of accumulated savings and enjoy their first care-free summer since 2019. But even the travel sector is hamstrung by capacity and labour shortages as workers laid off during the pandemic were reluctant to return. Key airports, such as Frankfurt and London Heathrow were forced to cap flights simply because they lacked the staff to process passengers. At Amsterdam's Schiphol, waiting times could stretch to four or five hours this summer. Airlines also could not cope. Germany's Lufthansa had to publish an apology to customers for the chaos, admitting that it was unlikely to ease anytime soon. RECESSION LOOMS That pain is likely to intensify, especially if Russia cuts gas exports further. "The gas shock today is much greater; it is almost double the shock that we had back in the 70s with oil," Caroline Bain at Capital Economics said. "We've seen a 10 to 11 fold increase in the spot price of natural gas in Europe over the last two years." While the EU has unveiled plans to accelerate its transition to renewable energy and wean the bloc off Russian gas by 2027, making it more resilient in the long run, supply shortages are forcing it seek a 15% cut in gas consumption this year. But energy independence comes at a cost. For ordinary people it will mean colder homes and offices in the short run. Germany for instance wants public spaces heated only to 19 degrees Celsius this winter compared with around 22 degrees previously. Further out, it will mean higher energy costs and thus inflation as the bloc must give up its biggest and cheapest energy supplies. " onerror="this.style.display='none'" class="msg-img" /> For businesses, it will mean lower production, which eats further into growth, particularly in industry. Wholesale gas prices in Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, are up five-fold in a year but consumers are protected by long term contracts, so the impact so far has been far smaller. Still, they will have to pay a government mandated levy and once contracts roll over, prices will soar, suggesting the impact will just come with a delay, putting persistent upward pressure on inflation. That is why many if not most economists see Germany and Italy, Europe's no. 1 and no. 4 economies with heavy reliance on gas, entering a recession soon. While a recession in the United States is also likely, its origin will be quite different. SILVER LINING Struggling with a red-hot labour market and rapid wage growth, the U.S. Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates quickly and has made clear it is willing to risk even a recession to tame price growth. By contrast, the European Central Bank has only increased rates once, back to zero, and will move only cautiously, mindful that raising the borrowing cost of highly indebted euro zone nations, such as Italy, Spain and Greece could fuel worries about the their ability to keep paying their debts. But Europe will go into a recession with some strengths. Employment is record high and firms have struggled with growing labour scarcity for years. This suggests that companies will be keen to hang onto workers, especially since they head for the downturn with relatively healthy margins. This could then sustain purchasing power, pointing to a relatively shallow recession with only a modest uptick in what is now a record low jobless rate. "We see continued acute shortages of labour, historically low unemployment and a high number of vacancies," ECB board member Isabel Schnabel told Reuters earlier. "This probably implies that even if we enter a downturn, firms may be quite reluctant to shed workers on a broad scale."
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By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Devik Jain (Reuters) -Wall Street's main indexes were set for a dour start to the week as investors worried about hawkish signals from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers in the face of slowing economic growth. A four-week summer rally for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 snapped last week as megacap growth companies slumped on Friday, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield hitting nearly 3% on inflation fears. [US/] High-growth and technology companies such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc fell 1.6% and 1.8%, respectively, in trading before the bell on Monday. Lenders JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) fell more than 1% each amid a broader risk-off mood. Banking giants collectively face more than $1 billion in regulatory fines for employees' use of unapproved messaging tools, including email and apps such as WhatsApp. The CBOE Volatility index, Wall Street's fear gauge, rose to 23.16, its highest level in over two weeks. After a rough start to the year, the benchmark S&P 500 recovered nearly 16% from its mid-June lows helped by strong earnings and hopes of a dovish pivot by the Fed. Focus this week is on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech at a central banking conference in Jackson Hole on Friday for further cues on the central bank's monetary policy tightening path. "The market convinced itself that the CPI last month suggested peak inflation has been reached ... but that was short sighted," said Kenny Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors. "Jackson Hole will give Powell an opportunity to reset the narrative and suggest the Fed is going to remain vigilant and aggressive." According to economists polled by Reuters, the Fed will raise rates by 50 basis points in September. Traders are also expecting a slightly higher chance of a 50 bps hike over a third 75 bps hike, even as several Fed policymakers have pushed back against expectations of a dovish pivot and emphasized the fight against inflation is ongoing. Investors will also be looking for details on the central bank's plans to reduce its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet, a process that started in June. The Fed's favored inflation gauge, the PCE price index, will also be released this week. With recession fears lingering and investors eager for any clues about the economy's strength, other U.S. data will be closely awaited this week, including flash PMIs, the second estimate of second quarter GDP and University of Michigan consumer sentiment. Economic slowdown fears have hit markets globally, with China's central bank trimming some key lending rates on Monday in a bid to support a slowing economy and a stressed housing sector. At 8:32 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 323 points, or 0.96%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 48.5 points, or 1.15%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 194 points, or 1.46%. Signify Health Inc jumped 40.2% following a report on Sunday that UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) and Option Care Health (NASDAQ:OPCH) Inc are bidding to acquire the company. AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) Holdings Inc tumbled 37.7% after UK-based rival Cineworld Group, the world's second-largest cinema operator, warned of a possible bankruptcy filing.
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Prior to registering his own holdings and buying 5 million Bed Bath & Beyond shares over the span of a week, Freeman had allegedly been investing with his uncle for years. And he’d been an intern at Volaris Capital, a New Jersey Hedge Fund for over four years.
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By Lawrence White LONDON (Reuters) - European stocks crept sluggishly higher on Tuesday as investors sought safety in defensive names, while risk aversion likewise lifted the safe haven dollar following weak Chinese and U.S. economic data that stoked fears of a global recession. The dollar briefly hit a one-week high as investors piled back in having ditched the greenback last week following lower-then-expected U.S. inflation data, while the Aussie, euro and Chinese yuan buckled. Europe's benchmark STOXX index climbed 0.3% to hit a 10-week high and mark a fifth straight session of gains, led by mining companies as London-listed BHP Group (NYSE:BHP) reported strong results. But S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures dipped, indicating a likely weaker direction for U.S. markets when they open later. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.03% after gains earlier in the day. MSCI's benchmark index has gained 5% from the year's lows but is still down 15% this year. Just as investors were taking heart from a four-week rally in global equities that pushed markets to their highest in more than three months, Monday's weak Chinese activity data spanning industrial output and retail sales hit sentiment. Also, U.S. single-family homebuilders' confidence and New York state factory activity fell in August to their lowest since near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a further sign the world's largest economy is softening as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. The picture was mixed across Asian bourses on Tuesday, with Tokyo and Taiwan benchmarks flat, while South Korean stocks put on 0.2%. Chinese stocks gave up early gains as growth concerns remained after data showed economic activity and credit expansion slowed sharply in July, prompting the central bank to unexpectedly cut interest rates. The blue-chip CSI 300 index slipped 0.2% after dipping on Monday. Bond markets, meanwhile, continued their tussle between fears over inflation and recession, which are particularly acute in the euro zone. Germany's 10-year yield, the benchmark for the euro zone, was up 3 basis points (bps) to 0.932%, holding below a two-week high of 1.025% touched last Friday. DOLLAR HAVEN Investors' latest move to the safety of the dollar came after the raft of weak global economic indicators. The U.S. economy contracted in the first and second quarters, amplifying a debate over whether the country is, or will soon be, in recession. On Tuesday, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, rose as high as 106.87, its strongest since Aug. 8. The euro, the most heavily weighted currency in the dollar index, dropped 0.28% to 1.01305. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were put on the defensive by frail global data. Brent crude futures fell 1% to $94.11 as the bleak economic data from top crude buyer China renewed concerns of a global recession, and the market monitored talks on a reviving deal that could allow more Iranian oil exports. WTI crude futures shed 0.98% to $88.52 a barrel. Spot gold dipped slightly to $1,775.6 per ounce as the stronger dollar dented bullion's appeal and investors watched for signs of future rate hikes by the federal reserve.
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Shift4 Payments is a leading provider of integrated payment processing and technology solutions, delivering a complete omnichannel ecosystem that extends beyond payments to include a wide range of commerce-enabling services. The company's technologies help power over 350 software providers in numerous industries, including hospitality, retail, F&B, ecommerce, lodging, gaming, and many more. With over 7,000 sales partners, the company securely processed more than $200 billion in payments volume for over 200,000 businesses in 2019.
CEO: Jared Isaacman