GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares gain, dollar slips as Fed's Powell sounds caution

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 12/01/23 11:43 AM EST

(Updates with prices at 11:25 a.m. ET/1625 GMT)

By Sin?ad Carew and Amanda Cooper

NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - MSCI's global stock index gained ground on Friday, while the U.S. dollar slipped after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell vowed to move "carefully" on interest rates.

Treasury yields were down in choppy trading after data showed a continued slump in manufacturing and Powell said the risks of hiking interest rates too much and slowing the economy more than necessary, have become "more balanced" with the risks of not hiking enough to control inflation.

"Powell did his utmost to subtly convince markets of the Federal Reserve's commitment to holding rates in restrictive territory for a prolonged period of time," said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Corpay in Toronto.

"But we doubt this will deter investors betting on a dramatic pivot in early 2024," he added citing comments from Fed Governor Christopher Waller earlier this week. Widely seen as a more hawkish policymaker, Waller flagged the possibility of lower interest rates if inflation continued to ease.

"By providing the terms - and the timeline - for a rules-based reduction in policy rates next year, Governor Waller earlier this week cleared the way for a sustained, data-driven decline in yields and the dollar."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 85.32 points, or 0.24%, to 36,036.21, the S&P 500 gained 5.88 points, or 0.13%, to 4,573.68 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 7.74 points, or 0.05%, to 14,218.48.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.97%, while MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe was up 0.21% after registering its biggest monthly gain in three years for November.

Earlier, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its manufacturing PMI was unchanged at 46.7 last month. It was the 13th consecutive month that the PMI stayed below 50, indicating a contraction in manufacturing and the longest such stretch since the period from August 2000 to January 2002.

Mona Mahajan, senior investment strategist at Edward Jones said the data supported the idea of lower inflation and a gradually cooling economy.

"We're encouraged that markets aren't pulling back in any meaningful way after the strong November and may have scope to build on those gains if we continue to see these fundamental drivers play out," said Mahajan.

In Treasuries, benchmark 10-year notes were down 8.4 basis points to 4.266%, from 4.35% late on Thursday. The 30-year bond was last down 6.3 basis points to yield 4.448%. The 2-year note was last was down 11.7 basis points to yield 4.5984%.

In currencies, the dollar index fell 0.058%, with the euro down 0.2% to $1.0864. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.64% versus the greenback at 147.25 per dollar.

Sterling was last trading at $1.2665, up 0.34% on the day supported by expectations that the Bank of England will take longer than either the Fed or the ECB to cut rates.

Oil prices extended losses slightly after Thursday's 2% drop, with the market unconvinced that the latest round of OPEC+ production cuts will be able to lift prices from a recent slump.

U.S. crude recently fell 0.13% to $75.86 per barrel and Brent was at $80.75, down 0.14% on the day.

In precious metals, spot gold added 1.1% to $2,058.19 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.64% to $2,051.10 an ounce.

(Reporting by Sin?ad Carew, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in New York, Amanda Cooper in London and Stella Qiu; Editing by Jamie Freed, Miral Fahmy, William Maclean and Alexander Smith)

In general the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so avoiding losses caused by price volatility by holding them until maturity is not possible.

Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

Before investing, consider the funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Contact Fidelity for a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus containing this information. Read it carefully.

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