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Shares gain on U.S. debt bill passage, Fed pause talk

Global shares rose on Thursday amid receding bets for a U.S. rate hike this month and relief over the passage through the U.S. House of Representatives of a bill to suspend the federal debt ceiling.

A divided House passed a bill to suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling – and avert a catastrophic default – with majority support from both Democrats and Republicans, stoking optimism that it can move through the Senate before the weekend.

The Euro STOXX 600 index rose 0.8% after closing at a two-month low in the previous session. U.S. S&P 500 e-Mini futures were 0.2% higher.

The U.S. legislation in essence temporarily removes the federal government’s borrowing limit through Jan. 1, 2025. The timeline allows President Joe Biden and Congress to set aside the politically risky issue until after the November 2024 presidential election.

“It’s very hard to believe this isn’t going to be even more of a formality in the Senate,” said Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY).

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, added 0.2%.

Also bolstering the mood were U.S. Federal Reserve officials including governor and vice chair nominee Philip Jefferson pointing to a rate hike “skip” at the Fed’s June 13-14 policy meeting. The comments saw the dollar dip to a one-week low versus the yen before adding 0.2%, while Treasury yields edged up from nearly two-week nadirs.

“The market at the moment is also really focused on broad macro trends, such as options for tapers by central banks,” said Sandrine Perret, a portfolio manager at Unigestion. “We are not there yet, but closer to it.”

Earlier, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares gained as much as 0.8% before giving up about half of its gains, rebounding after touching the lowest level since March 22 in the previous session.

A surprise swing to growth for Chinese factory activity had also provided a lift to sentiment, in a rare recent positive sign for the country’s post-pandemic recovery. Crude oil prices clawed back from four-week lows.

HIKE SKIP?

Money markets currently lay about 38% odds for a hike from the Fed on June 14, swinging back from about 70% earlier on Wednesday, after some unexpectedly hot jobs numbers.

However, shortly after, the Fed’s Jefferson said skipping a rate hike in two weeks would provide policymakers time to see more data before making a decision. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker also said on Wednesday that for now he is inclined to support a “skip” in rate hikes.

More closely watched employment data is due this week, with the ADP survey out later in the day, followed by the monthly non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

“It’s been a fairly strong retracement in terms of the market’s expectations for the June meeting, and it’s come contrary to the data,” said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at IG Markets.

The euro eased ahead of euro zone inflation data, due at 0900 GMT. It was last down 0.2% at $1.06640, moving back toward Wednesday’s two-month low of $1.0635.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields edged up to 3.6829%, after dipping to 3.6140% overnight for the first time since May 18.
Source: Reuters

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