GLOBAL MARKETS-Recovery bets support stocks as Fed comes into focus

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
GLOBAL MARKETS-Recovery bets support stocks as Fed comes into focus
Credit: © Reuters.

(Adds details, updates prices)

* U.S. stocks near record on stimulus, vaccine optimism

* Long-term U.S. bond yields just below 13-month peak

* Some investors see Fed upbeat on economic outlook

* European shares rise 0.4%; S&P 500 futures up 0.1%

* Global asset performance

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, March 15 (Reuters) - World shares inched higher while U.S. bond yields held near a 13-month peak on Monday on bets that economic growth would accelerate, even though investors became wary of the Federal Reserve and other key central bank meetings in the days ahead.

The $1.9 trillion stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed into law last week and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations stoked a bullish mood, but the focus was gradually turning to the outlook for monetary policy.

"The Federal Reserve is expected to rigidly stick to its easing plans, despite (Fed Chair Jerome) Powell & Co likely becoming significantly more upbeat on the outlook," said AFS analyst Arne Petimezas in Amsterdam.

"However, the risks are towards a hawkish surprise. The $1.9 trillion stimulus has been adopted without much ado and the Biden administration has now set its sights on a big figure infrastructure bill," he said.

European shares .STOXX rose 0.4%, led by travel stocks .SXTP , to hit pre-pandemic levels for the first time. S&P 500 futures ESc1 rose 0.1%, just below a record high level touched last week.

The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS , which tracks shares in 49 countries, was just above parity by 1159 GMT.

Mainland Chinese shares, however, dropped despite data showing accelerating industrial output and a rise in retail sales. The blue-chip CSI 300 index .CSI300 fell 2.2% on policy tightening worries. equipment maker Hikvision 002415.SZ lost 3.2% after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission designated it, along with four others Chinese companies including Huawei, as posing a threat to national security. U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval last week to the COVID-19 relief bill, giving Biden his first major victory in office. will provide another shot in the arm for a U.S. economy sprinting out of a deep hole (10 million jobs are still missing at present)," said Natixis economist Troy Ludtka in New York.

"We see the macro backdrop - stimulus included - as being sufficient to jolt the U.S. economy beyond the 6% growth mark," he said in a note.

Investors also suspect the $1.9 trillion package, which amounts to more than 8% of the country's GDP, could stoke inflation - to the detriment of bonds, especially when their yields are so low.

Rising inflation expectations could prompt the Federal Reserve to signal it will start raising rates sooner when it announces its latest economic projections at the end of Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday.

"Following the fiscal stimulus packages it is inevitable that Fed GDP forecasts will be revised up, and some FOMC members might think rates will have to move higher sooner than they anticipated last December," economists at ANZ said.

The Bank of England and Bank of Japan also have meetings on Thursday and Friday this week.

The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield US10YT=RR stood at 1.631%, having hit 1.642% on Friday, a high last seen in February last year.

Higher U.S. bond yields saw the dollar rising against other major currencies. The dollar index =USD rose nearly 0.2%.

The euro slipped 0.3% to $1.1922 EUR= from last week's high of $1.1990. The dollar hit a nine-month high of 109.36 against the Japanese yen JPY= .

The British pound slipped 0.4% to $1.391 GBP=D3 , but hopes for an economic recovery in Britain helped it hold above $1.39 after falling more than 1 cent versus the dollar on Friday.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP fell 4.7% from a record high set over the weekend after Reuters reported that India would propose a law banning cryptocurrencies. prices pared gains after initially rising on data showing China's economic recovery accelerated, boosting the energy demand outlook at the world's largest oil importer.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 0.1% to $69.14 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 eased 0.1% to $65.55.

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