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Stocks, crude oil advance despite higher interest rate expectations

Stocks, crude oil advance despite higher interest rate expectations

NYSE. Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, January 25, 2023.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq regains earlier losses from better-than-expected revenue at chipmaker Nvidia on Thursday, February 23

NEW YORK, USA – Global equities and crude oil rebounded from earlier losses on Thursday, February 23, even as economic data continued to show the strength of the US economy and validated the Federal Reserve’s tight monetary policy stance.

A US Department of Labor report on Thursday showed that new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to a persistently tight labor market.

The readings for the fourth-quarter personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, were revised upward to 3.7%, indicating inflation was much stronger than initially thought and weighed on sentiment earlier in the day.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting released on Wednesday, February 22, showed that officials favored a moderation in the pace of rate hikes although they indicated that containing high inflation would be key in how much further rates need to rise.

“The Fed minutes yesterday were a bit hawkish and they said ongoing rate hikes would be necessary and that should obviously be negative for the market,” said Sandy Villere, portfolio manager at Villere & Co. in New Orleans.

“But it seems the market is starting to discount that we’re getting into the eighth or ninth inning of these rate hikes even though the Fed is saying ongoing rate hikes would be necessary,” Villere said.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 50 countries, was down 0.27%. European stocks were up at just 0.06%.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq regained earlier losses from better-than-expected revenue at chipmaker Nvidia. The results drove the company’s shares up 14%, along with shares of other semiconductor manufacturers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.33% to 33,153.91, the S&P 500 gained 0.53% to 4,012.32, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.72% to 11,590.40.

“When you see strong numbers at certain companies, it could be market moving and that’s what we’re seeing today – a bit of a relief rally,” Villere added.

Oil prices firmed more than 1% before paring some gains, with Russian supply curbs partially offsetting an expected rise in US inventories.

Brent crude futures settled up 2% to $82.21 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures advanced 2% to $75.39 after six sessions of losses.

US Treasury yields edged lower in choppy trading, with those on the 10-year pulling back from three-month highs, as investors have priced in strong economic data.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were down at 3.8865%, while the yield curve measuring the gap between the 2- and 10-year Treasury notes was still inverted at minus 77.90 basis points, indicating a looming recession.

The dollar retained its strength against its major peers. The dollar index rose 0.077%, with the euro down 0.07% to $1.0594.

Safe-haven gold prices slipped to their lowest in about two months as the US dollar climbed. Spot gold dropped 0.03% to $1,822.09 an ounce, while US gold futures fell 0.55% to $1,822.00 an ounce. –

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