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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, dollar ease as c.bank officials take centre stage
June 27, 2017 / 10:51 AM / 4 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, dollar ease as c.bank officials take centre stage

LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - The dollar weakened on Tuesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve signals on whether the U.S. central bank will stick to its guns and raise rates this year, while firmer commodity-related shares helped limit losses across major stock indices.

The Fed’s Chair, Janet Yellen, is scheduled to take part in a discussion in London later on Tuesday. Investors expect her to underline her positive view on the U.S. economy, which would support the Fed’s forecast of a rate hike this year.

But softer-than-expected U.S. data overnight gave rise to some caution. New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in May and shipments also declined, suggesting a loss of momentum in the manufacturing sector halfway through the second quarter.

“Her words will be scrutinized for any colour about the timing of the next rate hike against a backdrop of mounting concerns over the inflation outlook,” strategists at Societe Generale said in a note to clients.

US stock futures were off 0.1 percent.

The dollar fell 0.1 percent against a basket of six major currencies, though it hit a five-week high against the Japanese yen.

A packed roster of top central bank officials speaking at various events kept volumes light and investors cautious. Also due to speak on Tuesday were Fed officials Patrick Harker and Neel Kashkari.

Fed officials have stuck to their hawkish scripts, in stark contrast to the firmly dovish view expressed by Draghi against exiting super easy monetary policy too quickly.

Draghi reiterated his views at an ECB conference in Portugal but also highlighted the continued recovery in the euro zone.

His comments helped bond yields in the single-currency bloc nudge higher and lifted the euro to a nine-day high.

In Britain, the Bank of England raised banks’ capital requirements and warned about levels of credit growth in pockets of the economy.

Worries about an extended consumer binge have weighed on the outlook for the country’s retailers, spurring some hedge funds to double down on bearish bets on the sector.

The BoE said it was continuing to oversee banks’ preparations for Brexit, including for if Britain exits the European Union in 2019 without securing any trade deal, cutting off banks from their European customers, which could undermine financial stability.

European stocks gave up some of their gains from the previous session, dragged lower by weakness in consumer-related stocks. Autos in particular were hit after a profit-warning from German parts maker Schaeffler.

In other corporate news, the EU slapped a record 2.42 billion euro fine on Alphabet’s Google saying it had abused its dominant market position. Google said it was considering an appeal.

More broadly, firmer metals and oil prices as well as upbeat data on Chinese industrial profits helped mining shares recover recent losses.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, gained 1.2 percent to $46.39 per barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 1 percent to $43.83 per barrel.

Gold prices, which tumbled to their lowest level in nearly six weeks on Monday after large sell order sent ripples through the market, steadied, supported by an easing dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.6 percent to $1251.21 per ounce. (Reporting by Vikram Subhedar; editing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and)

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