Brent at 16-month high, Treasury yields climb further

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent crude futures rose to a 16-month high on Thursday on the heels of OPEC’s agreement a day earlier to cut oil output, while Treasury yields continued to climb following the weakest monthly performance for global bonds in almost 13 years.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield jumped to its highest since July 2015 to start the month, after Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Global Broad Market Index fell 1.76 percent in November, its steepest monthly percentage drop since a 2.06 percent fall in July 2003. .MERGBMI

Bets on faster inflation in the United States, on the back of higher oil prices and the expected policies of the incoming Trump administration, have sent Treasury yields soaring as inflation erodes bond prices. A stronger-than-expected U.S. manufacturing reading for November and a rise in U.S. construction spending in October also boosted yields.

“Investors are building the possibility of inflation into the Treasury curve,” said Ellis Phifer, market strategist at Raymond James in Memphis, Tennessee.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield US10YT=RR hit a session high at 2.492 percent. The benchmark notes last were down 24/32 in price to yield 2.4517 percent.

The dollar index .DXY, which closed its second consecutive month of gains above 3 percent, slipped 0.54 percent. The British pound GBP= strengthened against the greenback for the seventh time in nine sessions.

The euro EUR= rose 0.70 percent to $1.0659.

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On Wall Street, declines in technology shares weighed on the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500. With the backdrop of higher interest rates, investors are likely to trim exposure to companies with high price-to-earnings ratios, which include some of the largest tech names, according to Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

“In a higher rate environment you are going to want to pay less for growth further out. To a large extent that is probably what is happening in the higher P/E stocks,” she said.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 68.35 points, or 0.36 percent, to 19,191.93, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 7.73 points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,191.08 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 72.57 points, or 1.36 percent, to 5,251.11.

The Dow set a record closing high.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 ended down 0.59 percent, while MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.23 percent.

Emerging market stocks .MSCIEF fell 0.5 percent.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Wednesday to its first oil output reduction since 2008 after the group’s leading producer Saudi Arabia accepted “a big hit” and dropped a demand that arch-rival Iran also slash output.

The deal also included OPEC’s first coordinated action in 15 years with non-member Russia. Azerbaijan said it was also willing to discuss cuts.

U.S. crude CLc1 last was up 3.0 percent to $50.91 a barrel and Brent LCOc1 traded at $53.69, up 3.6 percent on the day.

Spot gold XAU= sank to its lowest in nearly 10 months but later pared losses and was last up 0.01 percent at $1,171.01 an ounce.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos Additional reporting by Richard Leong, Chuck Mikolajczak and Sam Forgione; Editing by Andrew Hay and James Dalgleish