Shares choppy, U.S. yields fall as investors digest Fed minutes
Global equity markets were choppy and U.S. Treasury yields fell on Thursday as uncertainty over the pace of interest rate hikes prevailed among investors after the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes showed officials were determined to curb rising consumer prices.
Markets have remained bearish amid concerns about an impending recession, even though Fed officials indicated in the minutes of their July meeting released on Wednesday that they would adopt a less aggressive stance on rates if inflation starts to recede.
The yield curve between two- and 10-year Treasury notes US2US10=TWEB, widely viewed as an indicator of impending recession, remained inverted at minus 38 basis points on Thursday.
“The markets are still trying to figure out the Fed minutes and that has caused it to be volatile,” said Charles Self, chief investment officer at Tandem Wealth Advisors in Appleton, Wisconsin.
“The minutes were uniformly hawkish in our view. It’s clear that among all the voting members that curing inflation is the No. 1 choice and they’re going to do whatever is necessary as far as raising rates to get there. We think they’re using the labor market as cover.”
MSCI’s gauge of stocks in 50 countries across the globe .MIWD00000PUS was flat by 1606 GMT. Overnight, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closed 0.51% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dropped by 0.96%.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX, however, edged up 0.36%.
U.S. Treasury yields edged lower as investors continued to digest the Fed meeting minutes. Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were down to 2.844%, from 2.895% on Wednesday. Two-year notes US2YT=RR retreated to 3.2183%, from 3.295%.
“Since the Fed’s July 27 meeting, the two-year yields have been up 43 basis points, meaning that the bond market thinks they’re going to raise rates higher for a longer period of time whereas the stock market has been up 5% meaning the market thinks they’d raise rates relatively quickly and maybe even decrease rates next year. Well, I think the bond market is usually right,” Self added.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 was trading higher, driven by stocks in technology, energy and utilities. The Dow was down, led by a selloff in consumer discretionary, consumer staples, financials, healthcare and financials.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 0.18% to 33,918.87, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.04% to 4,275.87 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.14% to 12,955.76.