Stocks rally despite US inflation spike, dollar on defensive

Asian stocks gained on Thursday after Wall Street brushed aside strong U.S. inflation data and surged, a counterintuitive move that also saw the dollar pinned at two-week lows even as Treasury yields jumped in anticipation of a quicker pace of U.S. interest rate hikes. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 percent. Australian stocks climbed 0.8 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI advanced 1.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.1 percent following three successive days of losses that took it to a four-month low the previous day. Wall Street surged on Wednesday, with the Dow up 1 percent and the S&P 500 climbing 1.34 percent, as investors shrugged off the stronger-than-expected inflation data and snapped up shares of Facebook, and Apple . U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in January as Americans paid more for gasoline, rental accommodation and healthcare, further raising inflation concerns and the prospect of the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates more than initially expected. That drove U.S. Treasury yields on most maturities higher on Wednesday, with those on benchmark 10-year notes hitting a four-year high. The dollar index against a basket of currencies was slightly lower at 88.980 after losing more than 0.6 percent overnight despite the strong inflation number. The recovery in broader risk sentiment was seen weighing on the dollar, which had gained during the market turmoil earlier in the month. The U.S. currency has been buffeted by a variety of setbacks this year, including from prospects Washington might pursue a… [Read full story]


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