© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
By Chibuike Oguh
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Global equities moved toward record highs on Thursday and U.S. Treasury yields rose as investors discounted weak U.S. economic growth data to retain their focus on strong corporate results and interest rate expectations amid rising inflation.
U.S. gross domestic product increased at a 2% annualized rate last quarter, the slowest since the second quarter of 2020 when the economy was beset by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the Commerce Department said in its advance GDP estimate on Thursday.
The weak GDP figure was offset by continued improvement in U.S. jobless claims, which dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000 last week, remaining below the 300,000 threshold for the third straight week.
“The GDP numbers are not a surprise since we’ve come off a bottom and it’s going to slow to the normal pre-COVID pace,” said Dan Genter, chief investment officer at RNC Genter Capital Management in Los Angeles. “The earnings confirm that the multiple is sustainable and it’s giving people confidence not to exit the market and even to put money in.”
The MSCI All World Stock Index was up 0.55% at 745.85 points, barely below its lifetime high of 749.16 points hit last month.
In Europe, the STOXX index of 600 companies pared back earlier losses and rose 0.24% to 475.16 after the European Central Bank left its monetary policy unchanged, as widely expected.
The yield on the U.S. 20-year bond on Thursday rose slightly above the 30-year bond yield for the first time, according to traders, a move that garners attention because of investor sensitivity to inverted yield curves that can be a harbinger of recession.
Another key yield curve showing the spread between 2-year and 10-year yields was also flatter on the day.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year yield was trading up at 1.5659%.
“With what we’re seeing with PCE run rate, there’s a feeling at some point in time the Feds are going to raise rates,” Genter added.
On Wall Street, all three major U.S. stock indexes were trading higher driven by technology, industrials, consumer discretionary and healthcare sectors.
The U.S. dollar held losses to the euro and British pound late, as currency traders digested moves in interest rate markets, comments by the ECB President Christine Lagarde and a weaker-than-expected U.S. economic report.
The dollar index of major currencies lost nearly 0.6% to 93.363, with the euro up 0.65% to $1.168.
Gold prices rose as demand for the safe-haven asset was lifted by a softer dollar and data showing the U.S. economy grew at its slowest pace in more than a year.
Global equities, U.S. yields rise despite weak U.S. economic growth data
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