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Equities fall as U.S. inflation data raises more questions

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The floor of the the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen after the close of trading in New York, U.S., March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Wall Street dips as choppy recovery, looming tax hikes weigh
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  • U.S. yields fall after inflation shows signs of cooling

NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Global markets edged lower and the dollar fell on Tuesday after data showed U.S. inflation rose by less than expected, raising renewed questions on when the U.S. central bank will begin tapering its asset purchases. MSCI's world stocks benchmark (.MIWD00000PUS) fell 0.23%, and all of the major U.S. stock indexes were down by mid-afternoon New York time. European shares (.STOXX) closed 0.1% lower, dragged down by mining, banks and luxury stocks, which followed Asian luxury stocks in falling on a new spike in COVID-19 cases in Fujian, China. read more

The Labor Department said on Tuesday its Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up just 0.1% last month, compared to an expected increase of 0.3%. That was the smallest gain in six months, and it indicated that inflation has probably peaked. read more However, concern that inflation could remain high for a prolonged period has pressured stocks in September, and the data included warning signs that some bottleneck issues have not entirely gone away.

"Today's CPI data came in a bit weaker than expected, but (the Producer Price Index) is at a record high and inflation continues to be a key challenge for investors,” said David Petrosinelli, Senior Trader at InspereX.

The U.S. Federal Reserve will meet next week. The August CPI data lifts some of the pressure the Fed faced to announce it would begin tapering its massive bond-buying program.

Further delaying this key Fed announcement is "distorting" the economy and throwing off markets, said BlackRock's Chief Investment Officer of Global Fixed Income Rick Rieder.

"Continuing to stimulate demand higher increases the risk of a severe supply/demand mismatch across economic as well as financial assets," said Rieder, also the head of BlackRock’s global allocation team.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 262.72 points, or 0.75%, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 20.69 points, or 0.46%, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 33.25 points, or 0.22%.

The prospect of a corporate tax rise in the United States from 21% to 26.5% as part of a $3.5 trillion budget bill is also front and center for investors. read more

Investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc estimates that if Democrats succeed in raising the corporate tax rate increase to 25% and get half of the hike proposed in foreign income tax rates, it could shave 5% off S&P500 earnings in 2022. read more In Asia, China's tightening grip on its technology companies again kept investors on edge after authorities told tech giants to stop blocking each other's links on their sites. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was down 0.43%. The dollar index fell 0.161 points or 0.17%, to 92.514. The euro was last up 0.09%, at $1.1819 . The yield on 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR was 1.282%. Bond yields in the euro area moved up, with Germany's 10-year yield , the benchmark for the bloc, at -0.34%, hitting a two-month high. L8N2QG19D

Oil prices rose, extending gains as Nicholas weakened into a tropical storm and the International Energy Agency said demand would rebound in the remainder of the year.

Brent crude settled up $0.9, or up 0.12%, at $73.60 a barrel. U.S. crude settled up $0.1, or up 0.01%, at $70.46 per barrel. Spot gold prices rose $12.7509 or 0.71 percent, to $1,806.24 an ounce.

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Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts Marshall in New York; Tom Arnold in London and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; editing by Angus MacSwan and Nick Zieminski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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