US Stocks Gain But Poised To Snap 10-month Winning Streak

Reuters

Among early decliners was No. 2 home improvement chain Lowe's, whose shares slumped 7 percent after the company's quarterly profit missed estimates as margins fell.

The Fed's last round of economic projections in December pointed to three rate increases this year, but Powell's testimony before the US House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee, prompted investors to increase bets on four rate increases in 2018.

It has clawed back from the three-year trough of 88.253 set in mid-February, as fears of a ballooning USA budget deficit and worries of a possible weak-dollar policy from Washington took a toll. Rate futures fell following Powell's remarks as traders began pricing in about a one-in-three chance of a fourth hike this year. Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.3%.

Singapore eased 0.2 percent and Seoul was off 1.2 percent, with Manila and Mumbai also lower.

Eurozone bond yields initially rose after Powell's early comments but soon trimmed those gains in line with USA bond yields.

"Equities and risk assets may wobble as yields rise, but stronger growth should be good for corporate earnings and offset the impact from the expected increase in central bank policy rates", the world's biggest asset manager BlackRock said.

Treasury yields also began jumping Tuesday following Powell's comments, as the yield on the USA 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.90 per cent from 2.86 per cent late Monday.

With a nod to the new tax-cutting law, Powell noted that "fiscal policy is becoming more stimulative" and he predicted inflation would rise this year and stabilize around the Fed's 2 percent target.

A monthly loss for the S&P 500 .spx and the Dow Industrials .dji would be their first fall since March of previous year.

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In contrast, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said on Monday that slack in the euro zone economy may be bigger than previously estimated.

The losses came amid a broad selloff on Wall Street, where the Dow and S&P 500 capped their worst months since January 2016 overnight.

Meanwhile, latest data show that US gross domestic product climbed by 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, against an estimated 2.6 percent increase.

About 7.4 billion shares changed hands on United States exchanges.

Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 105 points, or 0.47%.

Sterling was one of the better performing G10 currencies yesterday, although still lost ground against a resurgent US Dollar. Powell's comments were interpreted by some investors as opening the door for more aggressive rate hikes, although he retained the outlook for increases to be gradual.

Gold decreased 0.8 percent to $1,308 an ounce, the weakest in two months.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.22 to $61.79 while Brent crude, the worldwide standard, dropped $1.19 to $65.33 per barrel.

The Australian dollar was down 0.4 percent at $0.7730 after brushing $0.7710 AUD=D4 , its lowest since late December.

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