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GLOBAL MARKETS-Yen snaps three-day drop; U.S. stocks flat
April 9, 2013 / 5:39 PM / 5 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Yen snaps three-day drop; U.S. stocks flat

* Yen’s slide halts just before 100 to dollar

* BOJ action keeps global bond yields near lows

* Benign China inflation data boosts copper sentiment

* Stocks reflect earnings expectations and China data

NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - The yen gained on Tuesday, snapping a three-day decline against the U.S. dollar, while a fall in Chinese inflation helped stocks and offset pressure from expectations for modest growth in corporate earnings.

The Japanese currency at one point weakened to 99.66 to the dollar earlier in the global day, using Reuters data, the greenback’s strongest level against the yen since May 2009, before the sell-off in the yen stalled.

Yet, analysts still suggest the yen’s advance is temporary and it is only a matter of time before the Japanese unit again weakens and the dollar sails past the 100-yen mark.

“Given the breadth of yen bearishness, any reprieve would likely encourage investors to re-establish short yen positions at more favorable exchange rates,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday’s rise by the Japanese currency left the greenback down 0.2 percent at 99.14 yen.

The U.S. currency has still gained around 7 percent against the yen since the Bank of Japan unveiled a massive stimulus program last Thursday involving large purchases of long-term Japanese government bonds.

The BOJ’s bold measures have had a major impact on the world’s main debt markets, sending Japanese government yields down sharply and spurring a search for higher-yielding assets, which has caused yields to fall on U.S. and euro zone bonds.

“Markets are increasingly focused on the notion that larger JGB purchases, at longer maturities, by the BOJ could push Japanese domestic long-term investors elsewhere,” said Vassili Serebriakov, strategist at BNP Paribas in London.

However, yields on highly rated euro zone bonds moved up from record lows as investors began to position for fresh government debt auctions.

German 10-year bond yields were higher at 1.273 percent, having hit 1.2 percent on Friday, their lowest level since mid-2012 before European Central Bank President Mario Draghi promised to do whatever it took to save the euro.

U.S. government debt prices were little changed on Tuesday.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields were at 1.75 percent, down 1.4 basis points from late on Monday.

STOCKS RISE

Equity markets were mostly higher as investors hoped for more accommodative monetary policy from China following benign inflation data.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 86.39 points, or 0.59 percent, at 14,699.87. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 8.21 points, or 0.53 percent, at 1,571.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 21.72 points, or 0.67 percent, at 3,243.98.

A significant driver of the rally has been the extraordinary stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve, and investors will be looking at company forecasts to gauge whether the fundamentals are strong enough to keep stocks climbing higher,

“The economy is still moving in the right direction, just less speedily than we want to see,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

Alcoa Inc, the first Dow component to release results, reported a higher quarterly profit but lower-than-expected revenue after the bell on Monday. Shares of the largest U.S. aluminum producer fell 0.1 percent to $8.38. .

Weak demand in Europe was a key drag on Alcoa’s results, and also hurt March sales at Volkswagen with shares in the German carmaker dropping 2.6 percent.

Europe’s FTSE Eurofirst 300 index finished up just 0.05 percent with concerns about a weak first-quarter earnings season outweighing prospects for continued strong metals demand from China.

MSCI’s world equity index, which tracks share prices in 45 countries, was up 0.5 percent.

CHINA STIMULUS

China’s annual consumer inflation cooled in March as food prices eased from nine-month highs and producer price deflation deepened, data showed on Tuesday, leaving policymakers room to keep monetary conditions easy and nurture a nascent recovery.

The Chinese data underpinned demand for copper, which climbed to a two-week high of $7,620 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange before paring slightly to trade at $7,617 a tonne, up 2.2 percent.

Crude oil also gained on the Chinese data, and a stalemate in talks between Iran and Western nations over its nuclear program and rising tensions on the Korean peninsula also supported prices.

Brent rose 1 percent to $105.726. U.S. oil futures rose 1 percent to $94.34 a barrel and

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