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Stocks up, dollar steady as markets await Fed speakers
March 28, 2017 / 1:17 AM / 6 months ago

Stocks up, dollar steady as markets await Fed speakers

A trader looks at screens while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks recovered on Tuesday as investors chose to look beyond U.S. President Donald Trump’s setback on healthcare reform and awaited comments from several Federal Reserve officials, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

The dollar steadied as the promise of more rises in Federal Reserve interest rates this year helped it recover from multi-month lows hit on Monday, and U.S. Treasury debt prices inched lower after strong U.S. consumer confidence data.

Advancing shares in Asia and Europe helped boost the MSCI’s all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which hit a near-two-week low on Monday. The index was up 0.52 percent.

The index found further support after Wall Street stocks inched higher, boosted by financials, after a survey showed U.S. consumers’ confidence in the economy rose in March to its highest level since December 2000. The cutoff date for the survey was March 16.

“This market is driven by two things - the hope of policy agenda getting put into place and improving fundamentals,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

Investors were awaiting Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech at a conference in Washington, where she could provide some insight into the timing of the central bank’s next interest rate hike.

Other Fed officials scheduled to speak at separate events include Fed Board Governor Jerome Powell, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and his Kansas City counterpart, Esther George.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 76.87 points, or 0.37 percent, to 20,627.85, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 9.31 points, or 0.40 percent, to 2,350.9 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 12.33 points, or 0.21 percent, to 5,852.70.

A trader sits in front of the computer screens at his desk at the Frankfurt stock exchange, Germany, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

European shares rose, boosted by strong results and deal-making across the region. Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 was up 0.61 percent at 1,488.02.

U.S. Treasury debt prices slipped in generally below-average volume after data showed U.S. consumer confidence at a 16-year high.

“This is an impressive gain... and a notable disconnect with 10-year yields under 2.38 percent, but it surely reflects the ongoing bid for equities,” said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were flat to up in price, after trading higher all morning, to yield 2.368 percent, down slightly from 2.375 percent on Monday.

The dollar steadied broadly as a general risk-off mood in currency markets offset comments from Federal Reserve officials that suggested the U.S. central bank was poised to continue its rate-hike cycle.

The dollar index .DXY was trading little changed in a volatile session, after hitting a four-and-a-half month low on Monday.

In emerging markets, the South African rand ZAR= fell after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was ordered home by the president, triggering speculation of an imminent cabinet reshuffle.

A severe disruption to Libyan oil supplies and comments from officials suggesting OPEC could extend its production cuts deal to the end of the year boosted oil prices.

Brent crude LCOc1 was up 0.88 cents, or 1.73 percent, at $51.63 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 was up 0.81 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $48.54 per barrel.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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