Global stocks seesaw after Fed flags U.S. inflation, bonds rise

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – World stocks lost some of the shine provided by Boeing’s strong results as the dollar fluttered on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated more interest rate hikes were in store, putting on edge a nervous market.

Reaction to a statement from Fed policy-makers was mostly muted, but stocks seesawed after the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note – the benchmark for world lending – briefly shot up to 2.75 percent, a level last seen in April 2014.

The Fed said it anticipated inflation would rise this year, signalling it remained on track to raise borrowing costs again in March under incoming central bank chief Jerome Powell.

Most observers shrugged off the statement as expected, but some see the possibility the Fed raises interest rates four times this year, or one more than the market anticipates.

“The Fed’s acknowledgment of the quickening pace of inflation today put three hikes in 2018 into the ‘base-case’ and perhaps raises the prospects for a fourth,” said Mike Terwilliger, portfolio manager of Resource Liquid Alternatives for the Resource Credit Income Fund in New York.

The 10-year note later pared losses to rise 2/32 in price and drop yields to 2.7181 percent. While historically very low, it’s above the 2.70 percent mark some investors had set as a tipping point for the long-complacent equities market.

MSCI’s gauge of equity markets in 47 countries edged lower to settle at 541.18, but then rose in after-hours trade. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares lost 0.25 percent as a bevy of healthcare stocks fell sharply.

Stocks on Wall Street closed higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 72.5 points, or 0.28 percent, to 26,149.39. The S&P 500 gained 1.38 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,823.81 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.00 points, or 0.12 percent, to 7,411.48.

“It’s just more of a technical bounce-back but they’ll be more pressure down in the days ahead. I don’t think this is over by any stretch,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O‘Neil Securities in New York.

Boeing Co, the world’s biggest planemaker, provided the most upside to both the benchmark S&P 500 stock index and MSCI’s all-country world index.

Boeing forecast core profit would rise to $13.80 to $14.00 a share this year, well ahead of analysts’ average estimate of $11.96, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Investors had been relieved when Boeing beat expectations for both earnings and revenue, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

The dollar initially rose against a basket of six currencies after the Fed statement, but later gave back those gains.

The dollar index fell 0.03 percent, with the euro up 0.09 percent to $1.2411. The Japanese yen eased 0.40 percent versus the greenback at 109.22 per dollar.

Oil prices rebounded from earlier losses to end higher after the U.S. Energy Department said oil inventories rose for the first time in nearly three months.

But that outlook was offset by strong demand for gasoline and distillate products and news that OPEC countries maintained heavy supply cuts in January.

U.S. crude rose 23 cents to settle at $64.73 per barrel and Brent settled up 3 cents at $69.05.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled up $3.60 at $1,339.

Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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