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GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. dollar up, yield curve flat, on inflation; stocks pause
October 17, 2017 / 4:08 PM / a month ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. dollar up, yield curve flat, on inflation; stocks pause

* Wall Street mixed, Europe flattens near record highs

* U.S. 2-year yields pop to near 9-year high

* Oil prices build on prior day’s gains as supply threatened

* Sterling sinks as rate-setters talk (Recasts with U.S. trading, updates throughout, changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)

By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks turned mixed on Tuesday, with traders unimpressed by some bank earnings reports, while the U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened and the dollar rose to a one-week high on increased inflation expectations.

World stocks’ gains petered out near record-high levels, in part because of a rally in commodities that helped underpin one of the most durable bull runs in recent history.

While Goldman Sachs Group Inc and rival Morgan Stanley topped analyst expectations with their third-quarter earnings, shares of Goldman fell because earnings were fuelled by a volatile unit which has sharp revenue swings, analysts said.

European shares were flat, underpinned by solid earnings from food group Danone and education specialist Pearson and talk of a break-up of investment bank Credit Suisse.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the yield spread between U.S. 5-year and 30-year Treasuries fell to its lowest since mid-November 2007, and 2-year yields rose to their highest in nearly nine years after the strongest reading on U.S. import prices in more than a year raised inflation expectations.

The Labor Department said import prices jumped 0.7 percent last month, the biggest gain since June 2016, after an unrevised 0.6 percent rise in August.

“Market participants are kind of hanging on to a thread of hope about inflation numbers,” said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia.

Speculation that U.S. President Donald Trump was leaning towards nominating Stanford economist John Taylor to head the Federal Reserve also pushed short yields and the dollar higher.

A fourth day of gains for the dollar index, which hit a one-week high, was also supported by broad-based weakness for the euro and the pound.

“Taylor is perceived as more hawkish than Ms.(Janet) Yellen so under his potential tutelage, the central bank might lift borrowing rates more aggressively, which would bolster the dollar’s allure,” said Joe Manimbo, senior marker analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

German Bunds and UK gilts had initially followed U.S. yields higher. British and euro zone inflation figures both came in strong to bolster bets on the first UK rate rise in over a decade and stimulus withdrawal from the European Central Bank.

The moves then unravelled after comments from Bank of England policymakers that were interpreted as dovish, with the euro and sterling falling.

“Comments coming out (from BoE policymakers) uniformly signalled a dovish and cautious stance among policymakers and indicated a growing debate internally on the path for interest rates forward,” said Neil Jones, Mizuho’s head of currency sales for hedge funds in London.

Oil prices reversed course after Monday’s gains, which came as fighting between Iraqi and Kurdish forces threatened supplies from northern Iraq while tension rose between the United States and Iran.

U.S. crude fell 0.98 percent to $51.36 per barrel and Brent was last at $57.36, down 0.8 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.46 points, or 0.09 percent, to 22,977.42, the S&P 500 lost 0.85 point, or 0.03 percent, to 2,556.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.52 point, or 0.01 percent, to 6,624.52.

Bellwether industrial metal copper dropped 1.40 percent to $7,034.50 a tonne on the stronger dollar after soaring to a three-year high on Monday.

Additional reporting by Marc Jones, Fanny Potkin and Christopher Johnson in London and Olivia Oran, Dion Rabouin and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Editing by John Stonestreet and James Dalgleish

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