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GLOBAL MARKETS-Bond yields jump as stocks ease on investor jitters
February 1, 2018 / 8:41 PM / 3 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Bond yields jump as stocks ease on investor jitters

(Adds gold, oil settlement prices)

* U.S. Treasury yields soar, 30-year passes 3.0 percent

* Dollar slumps as bond yields rise on inflation concerns

* Stocks eases as bond prices fall, dollar slumps further

* Oil rises as OPEC compliance eclipses U.S. output boom

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Bond yields shot up and global equity markets were jumpy on Thursday as investor jitters over the likelihood of rising inflation and high stock valuations dampened the appetite for risk assets after a euphoric January in markets.

Yields on the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond touched 3 percent for the first time since May 2017 and the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.786 percent a day after Federal Reserve policy-makers said they anticipated a rise in inflation this year.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its survey showed signs of a pickup in inflation, with a measure of prices paid by factories for raw materials increasing to its highest since May 2011.

Earlier in Germany, the benchmark 10-year bund hit two-year highs as yields firmed across the euro zone due to signs of inflation.

Gold prices eased and the dollar slipped, lifting the euro to levels last seen in December 2014.

European shares, as marked by the pan-regional STOXX 600 index, fell for a fourth day, led lower by Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk after its operating profit fell short of expectations.

“At currently high valuations for developed market equities, investors should tread cautiously in what remains a top-of-cycle environment, even if rising bond yields are more likely a headwind than a precursor to a crisis,” said Alastair George, chief strategist at Edison Investment Research.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe rose 0.04 percent while stocks on Wall Street traded near break-even after both stronger losses and gains earlier in the session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.02 points, or 0.16 percent, to 26,192.41. The S&P 500 gained 1.41 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,825.22 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 6.39 points, or 0.09 percent, to 7,405.10.

In Europe, the STOXX 600 closed down 0.5 percent and the pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.62 percent.

Stretched valuations, a long overdue pullback in stocks and uncertainty over a potential shutdown of the U.S. federal government are driving a sense of caution in the market, said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group in New York.

“Rising interest rates don’t necessary mean a hard stop for equity prices moving higher but they do add a degree of moderation to the enthusiasm,” Kenny said.

The dollar, which fell 3.25 percent in January to mark its weakest monthly performance since March 2016, pared gains against the yen as stocks fell in Europe and treaded water on Wall Street.

The dollar has struggled as expected monetary policy tightening elsewhere in the world, along with stronger global economic growth, encouraged investors to go abroad, particularly the euro zone.

The dollar index fell 0.58 percent, with the euro up 0.75 percent to $1.2513. The Japanese yen weakened 0.19 percent versus the greenback at 109.39 per dollar.

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield, the benchmark for the euro zone, hit a more than two-year high of 0.738 percent.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes last fell 17/32 in price to yield 2.7840 percent, up from 2.72 percent late on Wednesday.

Oil rose after a survey showed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ commitment to its supply cuts remains in place, even as U.S. production topped 10 million barrels per day for the first time since 1970.

U.S. crude rose $1.07 to settle $65.80 per barrel and Brent settled up 76 cents at $69.65.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish

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