Global stocks climb, shrugging off inflation data; dollar falls

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets surged anew on Thursday as investors shrugged off the latest sign of rising U.S. inflation, while strong global growth weighed on the dollar and pushed it to a 15-month low against the Japanese yen.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. producer prices accelerated in January, according to a Labor Department report that offered further evidence of growing inflation pressures in the world’s largest economy.

The report came on the heels of data on Wednesday showing a broad increase in U.S. consumer prices last month.

Faster inflation, which reduces the return of fixed income, spooked the bond market and had sparked a selloff in equities on Wednesday. But stocks later rallied on the notion that strong economic growth can offset moderate inflation.

An index of world stock markets .MIWD00000PUS advanced more than 1 percent and major European indexes also rose, bolstered by strong results from Airbus SE AIR.PA, the region's largest aerospace firm.

On Wall Street Apple Inc AAPL.O rose after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway disclosed in a regulatory filing that the iPhone maker is now its top common stock investment.

Network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc CSCO.O was among other technology stocks that rose, after its strong quarterly results and upbeat forecast.

Leo Grohowski, chief investment officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management in New York, said he was encouraged by the reaction to the inflation data.

“There were a lot eyes fixating on the PPI number this morning, it came in a little hot. But much like yesterday, the market’s shaking it off,” Grohowski said.

The equities selloff two weeks ago after an initial sign of an uptick in inflation had overshadowed earnings that are so strong estimates may need to be revised upward, he said.

“We’re taking our earnings estimates and looking at them and saying we just increased them six weeks ago, but you know what? They’re feeling pretty conservative to us,” Grohowski said.

Of the 383 companies in the benchmark S&P 500 index that have reported fourth-quarter earnings, 76.5 percent have beat analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

MSCI's all-country world index closed up 1.22 percent in a fifth straight session of gains while the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 of leading shares in Europe gained 0.44 percent to close at 1475.50.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 306.88 points, or 1.23 percent, to 25,200.37, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 32.57 points, or 1.21 percent, to 2,731.2 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 112.82 points, or 1.58 percent, to 7,256.43.

Rising interest rates need not be a worry as long as the economy is growing and the fundamental outlook does not change, Grohowski said.

“The market’s growing increasingly comfortable that maybe 3 percent on a 10-year Treasury note is OK,” he said.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note US10YT=RR rose 1/32 in price to push yields down to 2.9077 percent. Earlier in the session yields had shot up to 2.944 percent.

The gap between German and U.S. 10-year borrowing costs reached its widest since April after the higher-than-expected U.S. inflation data triggered a sharp selloff in U.S. Treasuries earlier in the day.

While investors also shed European government bonds after Wednesday’s inflation data, political risks kept a cap on yields.

German 10-year government bond yields DE10YT=RR were a basis point higher at 0.76 percent.

The dollar fell across the board. “Forex markets rotate from theme to theme all the time. The theme right now is global growth and strong global growth has historically pushed the dollar lower,” said Greg Anderson, global head of FX strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

The dollar index .DXY fell 0.57 percent, with the euro EUR= up 0.39 percent to $1.2497. The Japanese yen JPY= strengthened 0.87 percent versus the greenback at 106.10 per dollar.

Oil prices were mixed. Brent pared losses and U.S. crude rebounded on a weak dollar and Saudi Arabia’s comments that OPEC and other producers were committed to cutting supplies, which offset record U.S. production and rising inventories.

U.S. crude output hit a record 10.27 million barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, making the United States a bigger producer than Saudi Arabia. U.S. crude and gasoline inventories rose last week, U.S. data showed.

Brent futures LCOc1 fell 3 cents to settle at $64.33 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 settled up 74 cents at $61.34.

U.S. gold futures GCcv1 for April delivery settled down $2.70 at $1,355.30 per ounce.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Leslie Adler and Meredith Mazzilli