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Stocks, bonds rise with inflation concern fleeting


U.S. stocks climbed to record highs and bond yields fell as investors bet that a higher-than-forecast rise in inflation won't be enough to slow economic stimulus measures.

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The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high even after the U.S. recommended pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccines amid health concerns. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 also set a record while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished in the red. Consumer prices rose more than expected last month but investors speculated the acceleration was not fast enough to warrant any Federal Reserve policy change. The drop in yields weighed on bank shares.

"The market has been skittish about rates for some time," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial. "While this may cause some short-term volatility, investors have been pretty steadfast in their faith in a full economic recovery."

J&J shares fell as officials agreed to the pause and started an investigation into a link from its shot to rare and severe blood clots, while rivals Moderna and Pfizer advanced. The U.S. anticipates having enough other vaccines during the period.

Fund managers across the world now see inflation, a taper tantrum and higher taxes as bigger risks than covid-19, according to the latest Bank of America survey.

"A lot of growth and inflation have already been priced into the market," said Emily Roland, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management. "It's almost as if you need to exceed those expectations in order to see a more pronounced reaction from markets."

Although policymakers at the Federal Reserve expect a bump in consumer prices to be short-lived, many traders disagree, with fears of faster CPI playing out across duration-heavy assets from bonds to tech stocks.

Treasuries extended gains after the government's auction of 30-year bonds was greeted with strong demand.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin jumped to an all-time high as the mood in cryptocurrencies turned bullish before Coinbase Global Inc. goes public. Oil traded near $60 a barrel.

These are some of the main moves in financial markets:

 

Stocks

 

- The S&P 500 Index increased 0.5% to 4,141.67 as of 4:02 p.m. New York time, the highest on record.

- The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed at 33,678.78.

- The Nasdaq 100 Index advanced 1.2% to 13,986.50, the highest on record with the largest gain in a week.

- The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.1% to 13,996.10, the highest in almost eight weeks on the biggest gain in a week.

- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.1% to 435.75.

 

Currencies

 

- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index dipped 0.2% to 1,139.10, the lowest in three weeks.

- The euro gained 0.3% to $1.1952, the strongest in almost four weeks.

- The British pound advanced 0.1% to $1.3753.

- The Japanese yen appreciated 0.3% to 109.06 per dollar, the strongest in almost three weeks.

 

Bonds

 

- The yield on two-year Treasuries decreased one basis point to 0.16%.

- The yield on 10-year Treasuries sank four basis points to 1.62%.

- The yield on 30-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 2.30%.

- Germany's 10-year yield advanced less than one basis point to -0.29%, the highest in almost two weeks.

- Britain's 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 0.779%.

 

Commodities

 

- West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 1.1% to $60.40 a barrel, the highest in more than a week.

- Gold strengthened 0.8% to $1,744.98 an ounce.

Published : April 14, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Vildana Hajric, Claire Ballentine