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Tuesday, March 02, 2021, 23:08
Wall Street heads for subdued start, on bond watch
By Reuters
Tuesday, March 02, 2021, 23:08 By Reuters

LONDON - Wall Street stocks headed for a subdued start on Tuesday as investors paused to gauge if a jump in bond yields had run its course before dipping back into riskier assets.

Among the standouts, Zoom Video Communications Inc jumped about 10 percent after the company said it expects millions of people to continue using its video-conferencing platforms to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

US stock futures were slightly softer.

“You have had a lurch higher in bond yields and the level is not a problem but the speed of the move was a problem to a lot of people. Now it’s a question of are we done for a bit,” said Kit Juckes, global head of currency strategy at Societe Generale.

Investors will scrutinise speeches from US Federal Reserve officials in coming days for messaging on trends in yields, starting with Lael Brainard at 1800 GMT on Tuesday.

US stocks rallied on Monday, with the S&P 500 posting its best day in nearly nine months, as bond markets calmed after a month-long selloff.

A selloff in Treasuries last week pushed the 10-year Treasury yield to a one-year high of 1.614 percent. The 10-year yield was flat at 1.4462 percent.

The US dollar index was up 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies to stand at 91.13.

Shares in the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region fell overnight.

“Financial markets are trading at high levels in Europe, the US and other developed countries, which runs counter to the real economy,” Guo Shuqing, head of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, told a news conference.

The Chinese mainland’s blue-chips slipped 1.3 percent while the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Hang Seng Index lost 1.2 percent.

Analysts said the pause in markets was to be expected after last week’s moves in bonds.

“We are in the yield waiting room to see whether central bankers push back this week on the ambivalence we saw last week about interest rates,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

European shares firmed with the broad STOXX 600 share index was up 0.6 percent, with Paris, Frankfurt and London gaining by a similar amount.

German retail sales tumbled more than expected in January as an ongoing lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic curtailed retail spending.

Bitcoin fell 1.7 percent to US$48,755 after rising nearly 7 percent on Monday.

A stronger greenback weighed on gold, with the yellow metal at US$1,730 an ounce, up 0.4 percent.

Oil prices largely shrugged off expectations that OPEC would agree to raise oil supply at a meeting this week. Brent crude recouped earlier losses and was flat at US$63.74 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude edged up 14 cents to US$60.78 a barrel.

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