Stocks mostly slip, yields ease in wake of Powell inflation comments

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 06/28/22 10:59 PM EDT

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks on global indexes mostly edged lower and Treasury yields eased on Wednesday as investors weighed comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said there is a risk the U.S. central bank's interest rate hikes will slow the economy too much, but the bigger risk is persistent inflation.

The U.S. dollar index was higher and MSCI's global stocks index was lower after the comments, which Powell made at a European Central Bank conference.

"The clock is kind of running on how long will you remain in a low-inflation regime. ... The risk is that because of the multiplicity of shocks you start to transition into a higher inflation regime and our job is to literally prevent that from happening and we will prevent that from happening," Powell said.

Investors have worried that an aggressive push by the Fed to dampen inflation will tip the economy into recession.

Stan Shipley, fixed-income strategist at Evercore ISI, said markets will remain choppy as investors and traders read into the economic data what they want to see.

"We're getting slower economic data, some sectors look to be in recession, other sectors look to be in pretty good shape," Shipley said.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell 4.9 basis points to 3.158%, while the two-year's yield advanced 0.2 basis points to 3.126%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 96.69 points, or 0.31%, to 31,043.68, the S&P 500 lost 1.61 points, or 0.04%, to 3,819.94 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.17 points, or 0.12%, to 11,168.37.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.69% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.52%.

In foreign exchange, the dollar index rose 0.373%, with the euro down 0.39% to $1.0477.

Inflation fears are being fanned further by oil prices, which extended their rise into a fourth day. Tight supply worries offset concerns about a weaker global economy.

The OPEC+ crude exporters group started a two-day meeting on Wednesday but big policy changes look unlikely, with United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei already indicating his country is pumping close to capacity.

U.S. crude recently rose 0.89% to $112.76 per barrel and Brent was at $119.19, up 1.03% on the day.

Spot gold dropped 0.2% to $1,815.79 an ounce.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; additional reporting by Sujata Rao in London and Herbert Lash in New York; Editing by Nick Macfie, Will Dunham and Alex Richardson)

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