United States stocks higher at mid-session; Apple Inc top Dow riser

Ivan Schwartz
July 16, 2017

Global equity markets rallied after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled a more gradual tightening of monetary policy than expected on Wednesday.

Signs of a pickup in US inflation could reinforce views that the Fed would hike interest rates again sooner rather than later, which would lift Treasury yields and the dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.2 percent to its highest since May 2015, as Yellen sounded cautious on inflation and noted on Wednesday the Fed would not need to raise rates "all that much further" to reach current low estimates of the neutral funds rate. Chinese shares bucked the positive trend, with the CSI 300 index falling 0.1%, and the Shanghai Composite down 0.2%. Its preferred inflation measure, the PCE deflator, was at 1.4 percent in May after briefly rising above 2 percent in February, thanks to a comparison with last year's weaker energy prices.

Wall Street edged marginally higher on Thursday ahead of profit reports due Friday from several big United States banks.

Oil stumbled after settling higher overnight.

The U.S. Monthly Treasury Statement showed a deficit of Dollars 90.2 Billion.

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil, were up 35 cents at $48.77 per barrel.

In currency markets, the dollar blipped up and down within the span of a couple of minutes before resuming steady trading just above unchanged.

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Wall St opened higher, following the lead of most Asian and European markets.

China's trade surplus swells.

Gold was steady at $1,216.58 an ounce, heading for a 0.3% gain for the week.

In individual stocks, shares of Korean automakers were in focus following headlines from Yonhap News that unionized Hyundai employees were taking a vote over a potential strike.

The Kospi advanced 0.17 percent to trade above the 2,410 level, making gains for a second-straight day after closing at a record level in the last session.

Meanwhile, Singapore's economy grew 0.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter, below a forecast of 1.1 percent from a Reuters survey. Year-on-year CPI has been softening steadily since February, when it hit 2.7 percent. Inflation was flat, while a reading of retail sales slumped, emphasizing persistent weakness in that sector and underlining consumer reluctance to spend freely.

So far, the Fed chair has offered lukewarm reviews of recommendations made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a regulatory review report his agency released in June.

The dollar inched higher against the Singapore dollar to trade at S$1.3742 at 8:15 a.m. HK/SIN following the news compared to levels around the S$1.3738 seen before.

Other reports by GizPress

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