- European stocks rose Wednesday after Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell sought to allay fears around rising inflation.
- Asian markets closed with losses.
- In Europe, London’s stock market gains were capped by the strong pound, which has soared this week on Britain’s lockdown easing plan, weighing on the share prices of dollar-earning multinationals.
European stocks rose Wednesday after Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell sought to allay fears around rising inflation, dealers said.
In midday deals, London equities advanced 0.1%, while Frankfurt and Paris won 0.7% and 0.2% respectively.
Asian markets closed with losses.
Oil prices held close to Tuesday’s 13-month peaks before weekly US crude inventories data, which will highlight the impact of freezing weather in the producer state of Texas.
Bitcoin rose five percent after sliding the previous day on negative remarks regarding the virtual currency from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
“What we are seeing today is reflective of the mood in the markets for more than a week now,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.
“It’s been choppy for a number of sessions with investors still uneasy with the developments in the bond market and what it signals” regarding rising inflation.
“Powell did a good job of allaying some of those fears yesterday,” Erlam added.
Global stock indices have cruised to all-time or multi-year highs in recent months thanks to government and central bank backing, the rollout of vaccines, easing of lockdowns, an imminent US stimulus package and falling infection rates.
Yet the rally is showing signs of fatigue as traders fret that valuations may have run ahead of themselves, while the yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds – a key red flag on inflation – has spiked.
That has led to worries the Fed will have to lift borrowing costs more quickly than expected, removing a key pillar of support for stocks.
Powell sought to soothe those concerns Tuesday in the first of two congressional testimonies, saying inflation was expected to pick up and be “volatile” this year as Americans begin to spend more but told lawmakers the increases were unlikely to be large or persistent.
He pledged to keep the bank’s vast bond-buying scheme and low rates in place “until substantial further progress has been made toward our goals” of two percent inflation and full employment.
He added that the rise in yields showed “confidence on the part of markets that we will have a robust and ultimately complete recovery”.
In Europe on Wednesday, London’s stock market gains were capped by the strong pound, which has soared this week on Britain’s lockdown easing plan, weighing on the share prices of dollar-earning multinationals.
Sterling struck $1.4162 in Asian trade – its highest level since April 2018 – while the euro fell to a one-year low at 85.41 pence.
Powell’s comments helped Wall Street bounce off intra-day lows, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending slightly higher Tuesday.
However, the Nasdaq fell as tech firms that rely more heavily on financing are most at risk from high interest rates.