© Reuters. Blank prices are displayed in the stock quotation boards at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) after the TSE temporarily suspended all trading due to system problems in Tokyo, Japan October 1, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equity markets rebounded and Treasury yields rose on Tuesday, as an easing of China’s crackdowns on tech and COVID-19 along with solid U.S. retail sales in April suggested economic growth might be getting stronger.
Retail sales rose 0.9% last month while data for March was revised higher to show sales advancing 1.4% instead of 0.7% as previously reported, the Commerce Department said.
The data show U.S. consumers weathering inflationary headwinds as sales gained for the fourth consecutive month, said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist for LPL Financial (NASDAQ:LPLA). Sales are nominal, so much of the increase is from higher prices, he said.
“We expect a rebound in economic growth in Q2,” Roach said in an email, if prices moderate enough to relieve some of the pressure on consumers.
U.S. and European stocks rallied following gains overnight in Asia. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe rose 1.92%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 1.22%.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.28%, the S&P 500 gained 1.89% and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.57%. Growth stocks rose 2.30% compared to a 1.45% gain in value shares.
The rally is partially a reaction to overselling after the Nasdaq and S&P 500 last week posted their sixth consecutive weekly loss, said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise Financial (NYSE:AMP).
“There’s this battle in the stock market between what breaks first: inflation or the consumer. The stock market is betting that the consumer is going to break and credit markets are betting that inflation is going to break first,” he said.
“The stock market is getting close to overcorrecting and pricing in the probability of a recession that I think is just too high,” Saglimbene said.
Data also showed industrial production rose 1.1% in April, with the manufacturing capacity utilization rate at its highest since 2007. The sector is running too hot and needs to slow for inflation to get under control, said Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica (NYSE:CMA) Bank.
The Federal Reserve will raise the federal funds rate half a percentage point at each of its next two policy meetings to throw some sand in the economy’s gears, Adams said in an email.
The U.S. central bank will “keep pushing” to tighten U.S. monetary policy until it is clear inflation is declining, Fed chair Jerome Powell said at a Wall Street Journal event.
“We really need to see clear and convincing evidence inflation is coming down,” he said, adding that “we don’t know where neutral is, or where tight is.”
The Fed is behind the curve and trying to play catch up, said Brian Ward, chief executive of Broadmark Realty Capital (NYSE:BRMK) Inc.
“We are trying to address a very complex set of facts with a very blunt instrument via monetary policy and I think that it’s not going to turn out well,” Ward said.
The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose 9.2 basis points to 2.971%.
The dollar eased for a third straight day, slipping from a two-decade high against a basket of major currency peers, as an uptick in risk appetite cut the greenback’s safe-haven appeal.
The dollar index fell 0.758%, with the euro up 1.04% to $1.054. Japan’s yen weakened 0.19% to 129.41 per dollar.
Fears remain about the strength of the world’s two largest economies after weak retail and factory figures in China and some disappointing U.S. manufacturing data..
An index compiled by U.S. bank Citi that monitors whether economic data comes in better or worse than economists had been expecting is back in negative territory.
Crude oil gave up gains on news Washington would ease some restrictions on Venezuela’s government, and prices fell further when Powell began to speak on concerns a Fed policy error could slam the economy and reduce energy demand.
U.S. crude futures fell $1.80 to settle at $112.40 a barrel and Brent settled down $2.31 at $111.93 a barrel.
Gold fell as the robust U.S. retail sales data and likelihood of aggressive Fed rate hikes outweighed support from a weaker dollar.
U.S. gold futures settled up 0.3% at $1,818.9.
Hopes that China might ease lockdowns after Shanghai achieved the long-awaited milestone of three straight days with no new COVID-19 cases outside quarantine zones.
Mainland China’s CSI300 Index gained 1.25% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 3.27%, as tech firms listed in the city jumped nearly 6% on hopes of Beijing’s crackdown on the sector being relaxed.