Sentiment steadies as Fed chair's Jackson Hole speech nears

LONDON (Reuters) – Global equities and oil rose on Tuesday as a bounce in China’s tech sector, positive U.S. vaccination news and easing worries about the U.S. tapering stimulus lifted sentiment ahead of a key speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later this week.

FILE PHOTO: Traders sit at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange, Germany, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 50 countries, rose another 0.3% after its 1.1% gain on Monday, setting it on a recovery course after last week’s sell-off.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rallied 1.9%, with Chinese stocks rebounding after being hit by regulatory worries last week.

In Europe, the pan-European STOXX 600 was broadly flat while Wall Street was set to open in positive territory with Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures up 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

Worries the Fed was edging closer to tapering its stimulus weighed on global markets last week, but investors are now much less confident Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole will indicate a timeline for winding down the Fed’s bond-buying program.

“I can’t see a shift in monetary policy in the next two to three months”, said Mikael Jacoby, head of continental European sales trading at Oddo Securities in Paris.

Jacoby argued that the resurgent pandemic was pushing central bankers on the side of caution and that strong earnings and abundant liquidity were keeping the market afloat.

Spiking COVID-19 infections caused by the highly contagious Delta variant have fuelled concerns about the recovery, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval yesterday to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer, raising hopes inoculations could accelerate.

The improved sentiment drove the dollar down overnight against its Australian and Canadian counterparts as well as the Norwegian crown and Swedish crown.

At 1120 GMT, the dollar was just slightly down at 92.979 versus a basket of currencies. It hit a five-day low of 92.947 on Monday and had its largest one-day drop since May.

Last week, the dollar index hit a nine-month high on bets the Fed would start shifting away from its accommodative monetary policy, but that view began to change on Friday when Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he might reconsider his hawkish stance if the coronavirus harms the economy.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose gently to 1.2650% while euro zone bond yields dipped slightly, with investors focusing on issuance in a data-light session.

In commodities markets, Brent crude oil futures added 2% to $70.08 a barrel after rallying more than 5% on Monday, as a weaker dollar and strong global equities markets boosted crude following seven sessions of declines. Gold prices eased slightly but stayed above the key psychological level of $1,800 per ounce.

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