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GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar, yields up on Fed; stocks choppy
March 14, 2012 / 6:48 PM / 6 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar, yields up on Fed; stocks choppy

* Fed outlook, U.S. bank test results boost sentiment
    * European shares close higher, U.S. stocks choppy
    * U.S. dollar hits 11-month high against yen

    By Luciana Lopez	
    NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - The dollar rallied and
U.S. Treasury yields jumped on Wednesday, lifted by a more
optimistic view of the economy by the U.S. Federal Reserve and
news that most U.S. banks passed stress tests.	
    The greenback hit the latest in a series of 11-month highs
against the yen and notched a one-month high against the euro.	
    Yields on U.S. Treasuries hit their highest level since
October and German 10-year bond yields spiked to a three-week
high as demand for safe-haven government debt waned.	
    Stocks in Europe closed at a near 8-month high,
helped as well by a drop in Italy's borrowing costs at an
auction.	
    "Equities are getting the message that they are cheap
relative to bonds, which is the other side of bonds getting the
message that they are extremely expensive," said Alan Ruskin,
head of G10 currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. 	
    But U.S. equities were choppy after a five-session rally
took indices to multi-year highs in the previous session. 	
   "We are still not seeing the kind of volume that
would suggest this is comprehensively being bought into by all
investors," said Gordon Charlop, a managing director at
Rosenblatt Securities in New York. "But people are able to
tolerate more risk now.  	
   "The key takeaway is, can we hold (Tuesday's) gains?" 	
    The Fed said late on Tuesday it expects
"moderate" growth over coming quarters, with the unemployment
rate declining gradually, versus the "modest" growth the central
bank said it expected in January. 	
    Many analysts took the view that a further round of asset
buying by the U.S. central bank is now less likely.	
    The Fed also said that most of the largest U.S. banks passed
their annual test of how they would fare in an economic crisis,
a report that underscored the recovery of the financial sector
but called out a few laggards, including Citigroup Inc.
 	
    "Certainly this is good news for the overall domestic
financial system," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer
of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York. 	
    "It really shows banks have turned themselves around, raised
capital significantly and are being much smarter and less
aggressive about their capital positions, and that should give
investors confidence in the system."	
    Hints of a brighter outlook crept across the Atlantic as a
slight rise in euro zone industrial production data for January
ended two consecutive monthly falls and pointed toward the
bloc's eventual recovery. 	
    But the impact of high oil prices kept optimism in check,
weighing on growth prospects and dampening hopes that the
effects of Europe's debt crisis might be easing. 	
    In contrast, economists in a Reuters poll said the U.S.
economy will gain traction this year after a sluggish first
quarter, even as the potential threat from higher oil prices
pushes analysts to raise their inflation expectations.
 	
    The Fed's latest statement, which made no direct mention of
policy easing, was in line with recent stances adopted by the
European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan to wait and see the
impact of measures already taken.	
    "Major central banks, including the Fed, ECB and the BoJ,
have stepped off the gas pedal and we'll likely need another
deterioration in economic data before additional liquidity is
provided," analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note.	
    Stocks in the United States seesawed, with key
indices dipping into and out of negative territory through the
session.	
    The Dow Jones industrial average gained 10.25 points,
or 0.08 percent, to 13,187.93. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
 dropped 1.80 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,394.15. The
Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.04 points, or 0.00
percent, to 3,039.92. 	
    The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
unofficially ended 0.3 percent higher at 1,099.09 points, its
highest closing level in nearly eight months. Banks paced the
gains, with Natixis up 5.3 percent and Credit Suisse
 up 5 percent.	
    The MSCI world equity index dipped 0.22
percent.	
    The dollar rose 1.04 percent to 83.72 yen. The euro
 weakened 0.48 percent to $1.3019, touching its lowest
since Feb. 16.	
    "It may prove a temporary phase, but at present the U.S.
dollar is benefiting from higher relative yields reflecting the
outperformance of the U.S. economy over other major developed
economies," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of
Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.	
    The upsurge in risk appetite crimped demand for safe-haven
government debt. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
down 43/32, with the yield at 2.2776 percent.  	
    Brent and U.S. crude dipped in choppy trading as data showed
a big jump last week in crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma,
hub and an overall rise in crude inventories that was in line
with expectations, countering drops in refined products stocks.	
    Brent crude slipped 0.67 percent to $125.38 a
barrel. U.S. crude dropped 0.46 percent to $106.22 per
barrel.

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