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Stocks steady, dollar up; investors brace for CPI

February 12, 2024 4:34 AM EST

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February 9, 2024. REUTERS/Staff/ FILE PHOTO

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Global stock indexes were little changed on Monday while the U.S. dollar inched higher ahead of Tuesday's U.S. consumer price index report, which could provide clues on when the Federal Reserve is likely to begin cutting interest rates.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin hit the $50,000 level for the first time in more than two years. Bitcoin was last up 5.6% at $50,207. Crypto stocks also were higher; Coinbase Global rose 3.7%.

The S&P 500 ended down slightly after hitting a fresh intraday record high. Last week the S&P 500 finished above 5,000 points for the first time ever. The MSCI world stock index was flat after touching its highest level since January 2022.

The January consumer price index report is due Tuesday, while the U.S. producer prices report is due later in the week. Investors are also eager to see Thursday's U.S. retail sales report for January.

Expectations of a Fed rate cut at its next meeting have fallen as some recent data has suggested the economy remains robust.

Markets are pricing in an 84.5% chance of rates remaining unchanged in March. Also, the odds for at least a 25-basis-point rate reduction in May have dropped to 61%, from over 95% at the start of 2024, as per the CME FedWatch Tool.

"Soft CPI and soft retail sales should help boost the Fed's confidence that inflation is coming back to its target," said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex in New York.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 125.69 points, or 0.33%, to 38,797.38, the S&P 500 lost 4.77 points, or 0.09%, to 5,021.84 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 48.12 points, or 0.30%, to 15,942.55.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 nations, lost 0.01%. European stocks were up 0.5%.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia were closed for holidays.

Mainland China's financial markets are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday and will resume trade on Monday, Feb. 19. Hong Kong trade will resume on Feb. 14.

Investors have also reduced their expectations for rate cuts by the European Central Bank, after two policymakers said last week that the ECB needs more evidence that inflation is easing before it can cut rates.

On Monday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its January Survey of Consumer Expectations, which showed inflation a year and five years from now were unchanged at readings of 3% and 2.5%, respectively. The projected rise in inflation three years from now dropped to 2.4%, the lowest since March 2020, from December's 2.6%.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies of other major trading partners, was up 0.1% at 104.13.

The dollar rose 0.03% against the yen to 149.35, while the euro was down 0.1% on the day at $1.0769.

U.S. Treasury yields dipped, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note pausing after three straight sessions of gains.

The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes ticked down 1.9 basis point to 4.168%, from 4.187% late on Friday.

Oil futures ended mixed near flat. Concerns about interest rates and global demand caused the market to take a break after prices jumped about 6% last week.

U.S. crude rose 8 cents to settle at $76.92 a barrel. Brent crude fell 19 cents to settle at $82.

Spot gold prices fell 0.3%.

(Additional reporting by Herbert Lash in New York; and Elizabeth Howcroft in London, editing by Ed Osmond, William Maclean, Cynthia Osterman and Deepa Babington)



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