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World stocks up, dollar dips as Fed officials calm inflation fears

Global stocks edged higher and the dollar dipped on Friday after U.S. Federal Reserve officials said there would be no imminent move to tighten monetary policy in the world’s biggest economy.

The bounce, extending a late recovery in the prior session, interrupted a three-day rout for stocks globally, amid market jitters over accelerating U.S. inflation.

The MSCI World Index, a broad gauge of equity markets globally, was up 0.3% in early European trading, adding to Thursday’s 0.4% gains after a loss of more than 4% since the start of the week.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index was up 0.6% in early deals while the FTSE 100, Europe’s biggest index, was up 0.7%.

The gains followed overnight strength in Asia, where Tokyo’s Nikkei jumped 2.3%, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.8% and Chinese blue chips rose 2.2%.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street, with S&P 500 futures up 0.6% and its Nasdaq peer up 0.8%.

Among Fed speakers overnight, Governor Christopher Waller signalled rates would not rise until policymakers either see inflation above target for a long time or excessively high inflation.

“Inflation, it seems, matters less today than yesterday,” Chris Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone in Melbourne, wrote in a note to clients.

“The buy-the-dip crowd were out in force,” suggesting that recent selling was “a pullback within a bull market,” he said.

Looking ahead, traders will wait for the release of a fresh batch of U.S. data including April retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation, while the Dallas Federal Reserve President is also set to speak.

In Europe, meanwhile, the European Central Bank is set to publish the accounts of its April meeting.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were down fell by nearly 4 basis points overnight and eased further to trade at 1.6539%.

After holding steady in Asia overnight, the U.S. currency edged lower against a basket of its major peers, with the dollar index down 0.2% at 90.57, taking a breather after recent strong gains.

Gold was last up 0.3% at $1,832 an ounce, helped by the pullback in the dollar.

Oil prices steadied around flat on the day as investors focused on high coronavirus cases in key consumer India and the return to action of a top U.S. fuel pipeline network after being shut due to a cyber attack.

Brent crude was unchanged at $67.05 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.1% at $63.88 a barrel.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin recovered to trade just above $50,000 on Friday, after plunging to a 2-1/2-month low of $45,700 in the previous session when a media report of a regulatory probe into crypto exchange Binance added to pressure from Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk reversing his stance on accepting the digital currency.

Much smaller rival dogecoin jumped as much as 20% to $0.52 after Musk said on Twitter that he was involved in work to improve the token’s transaction efficiency.
Source: Reuters (Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Toby Chopra)

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