Dollar firms against sterling, euro amid political uncertainties
TOKYO The dollar firmed on Tuesday, taking back ground against the euro and sterling which were pressured by political uncertainties in the UK and eurozone.
NEW YORK U.S. stocks rose after three straight sessions of losses as investors shifted their focus to earnings and the greenback steadied after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said dollar strength is good over long periods of time.
Mnuchin, in comments to the Financial Times, also said U.S. President Donald Trump's recent remarks that the dollar is getting too strong were about the short term.
Tensions over North Korea weighed on the dollar earlier. North Korea had a failed missile test launch over the weekend, adding to regional tensions that have escalated in recent weeks as Trump has taken a tough rhetorical line with Pyongyang.
The dollar, which had hit a five-month low against the safe-haven yen, rose to a session high of 109.05 after the FT report. Stocks added to gains in late trading.
"You've had President Trump run on certain campaign issues, and many of those seem to be shifting to a more mainstream approach. From a financial markets perspective... that can be seen as a positive," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Mass.
First-quarter results from U.S. companies will draw investors' attention as reporting picks up this week. Beaten-down banks led gains on the S&P 500, with the S&P financial index up 1.6 percent. Goldman Sachs is among companies due to report this week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 183.67 points, or 0.9 percent, to 20,636.92, the S&P 500 gained 20.06 points, or 0.86 percent, to 2,349.01 and the Nasdaq Composite added 51.64 points, or 0.89 percent, to 5,856.79.
Geopolitical tensions focused on North Korea, Russia and Syria weighed on stocks last week.
"People want to be focused on earnings and how the economy is doing," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York.
"Financials should do well... but they've given most of the gains back that they've seen since President Trump was elected."
Financial shares rallied after the Nov. 8 election on hopes of deregulation under Trump and expectations of higher interest rates. Analysts expect S&P financial earnings to have risen 17.8 percent in the quarter from a year ago, and they expect earnings for all S&P 500 companies to have increased 10.4 percent, Thomson Reuters data showed.
World stocks as measured by the MSCI world equity index rose 0.6 percent.
While Wall Street reopened after being closed for the Good Friday holiday, most major European markets were closed for Easter Monday.
U.S. Treasury yields rose from five-month lows as stocks gained, reducing demand for safe-haven debt, and on reports that the Trump administration is likely to nominate a bank-friendly official as the Federal Reserve's vice chairman for bank supervision.
The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News were among publications reporting that Randal Quarles, a former top Treasury Department official during the Bush administration, is expected to be nominated to the Fed's bank supervisory role.
Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 7/32 in price to yield 2.252 percent, after dropping to 2.198 percent overnight, the lowest since Nov. 17.
Gold, which earlier rose to five-month highs on the rising tensions over North Korea, lost steam as U.S. Treasury yields turned higher and the dollar steadied.
Spot gold was up 0.05 percent at $1,285.86 an ounce after hitting its highest since early November.
Crude oil slipped on news of rising U.S. shale production and profit-taking following three straight weeks of gains.
Benchmark Brent crude futures ended the session 53 cents lower at $55.36 while U.S. crude futures settled down 53 cents at $52.65 a barrel.
(Additional reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, Karen Brettell and Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Dan Grebler)
FRANKFURT Euro zone growth may be improving but inflation remains subdued and still requires substantial stimulus, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Monday, tempering expectations for the bank's June 8 policy meeting.
ATHENS Greece's creditors need to reach a deal on debt relief measures at the next meeting of euro zone finance ministers in June to help the country return to bond markets, its finance minister said on Monday.