March 21, 2019 / 4:06 PM / 4 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall Street leads stock higher; sterling falls further

* Treasury, Bund yields touch multi-month lows

* Sterling falls on no-deal Brexit concerns (Updates prices, comment, changes dateline; previous LONDON)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, March 21 (Reuters) - A measure of stocks across the globe rose in a volatile session on Thursday, led by gains on Wall Street, while the dollar rallied as traders continued to digest the Federal Reserve’s uber-dovish stance.

Sterling slid, down 0.92 percent versus the dollar, as concern grew alongside the probability of a no-deal Brexit that would likely slow economic growth.

Expected losses in bank shares on the likelihood of lower interest rates were more than offset by gains in the technology sector, lifting the Wall Street benchmark to near its highest in five months.

“Investors are digesting the Fed’s announcement from yesterday. The positives are that rates are low, inflation is low and stimulus is still there. The negative is the Fed wouldn’t be doing this unless they knew things are going to get weaker,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt in Atlanta.

“Growth-type companies and not the interest rate-dependant banks are moving higher today and it shows that the environment is OK.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 201.26 points, or 0.78 percent, to 25,946.93, the S&P 500 gained 22.77 points, or 0.81 percent, to 2,847 and the Nasdaq Composite added 79.70 points, or 1.03 percent, to 7,808.67.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.52 percent.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.09 percent and emerging market stocks lost 0.07 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.12 percent higher, while markets in Japan were closed for a public holiday.


With investors rushing to price in the end of the Fed’s tightening cycle, benchmark Treasury yields fell to their lowest since early 2018 and those on German Bunds - Europe’s benchmark - dropped to the lowest since October 2016.

“The Fed has doubled down on its dovish tilt,” said Matt Freund, head of fixed-income strategies at Calamos Investments. “The global economy is clearly softening and the Fed is looking at liquidity conditions.”

Ten-year Bunds were offering buyers virtually nothing at a yield of just 0.046 percent.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.5262 percent, from 2.537 percent late on Wednesday.

The 30-year bond last rose 6/32 in price to yield 2.9667 percent, from 2.975 percent late on Wednesday.

With central banks having already cut rates to the bone and tried full-scale money printing, investors are concerned that many are now low on traditional ammunition to fight recession.

The U.S. dollar recouped most of the ground lost in the previous session on the back of the Fed’s statement. Sterling continued to fall as Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May headed into an EU meeting in Brussels with the rising likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.

The pound was recently trading at $1.3082, down 0.83 percent on the day.

The dollar index rose 0.74 percent, with the euro down 0.46 percent to $1.1358.

Norway’s currency shot up after its central bank, going against the grain, raised interest rates and signaled a 50-50 chance another hike will follow by mid-year.

The Norwegian krone gained 0.35 percent versus the U.S. dollar at 8.47.

Oil prices edged lower but held near 2019 highs, supported by a tightening of global stocks, OPEC production cuts and U.S. sanctions on key producers Iran and Venezuela.

U.S. crude fell 0.12 percent to $60.16 per barrel and Brent was last at $68.25, down 0.36 percent on the day.

Spot gold dropped 0.1 percent to $1,310.56 an ounce. Copper rose 0.18 percent to $6,468.50 a tonne.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Marc Jones and Ron Bousso in London, Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru & Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Kate Duguid in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

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