U.S. yields ease from 14-month highs, oil bounces back

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Benchmark U.S. bond yields edged back from 14-month highs on Friday as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s move to let a key leverage exemption expire, while oil prices rebounded after getting pummeled a day earlier.

FILE PHOTO: A Wall St. street sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Wall Street’s main indexes were mixed in afternoon trading as gains in U.S. tech and growth stocks countered declines in bank shares after the Fed said it would not extend a temporary pandemic regulatory break due to expire this month.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.76% after France imposed fresh regional lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.10%. Investors were seeking the next reasons to add risk following the passing of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, broadening U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations and encouraging economic news.

“We have had such a strong period of news-flow and catalysts on the positive end that now that a lot of those have largely been put into the market, we are now a little bit more susceptible to negative news causing big drawdowns,” said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 130.45 points, or 0.4%, to 32,731.85, the S&P 500 gained 8.43 points, or 0.22%, to 3,923.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 120.77 points, or 0.92%, to 13,236.94.

The S&P 500 banks index dropped 1.5%.

Markets have been consumed by moves in U.S. bond yields, with investors still digesting the Fed’s meeting earlier this week. The central bank said it expects higher economic growth and inflation in the United States this year, although it repeated its pledge to keep its target interest rate near zero.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 1.721%, from 1.729% late on Thursday. The 10-year yield hit 1.754% on Thursday, its highest level since January 2020.

“Ultimately, what we’re seeing now is a great deal of tension between market prices that embed several rate hikes before the end of 2023 and the Fed’s forecast that doesn’t expect lift-off until 2024,” said Ryan Swift, U.S. bond strategist at BCA Research in Montreal.

The dollar extended gains against major currencies, hitting its highest level in a week.

The dollar index rose 0.093%, with the euro down 0.08% to $1.1905.

Oil prices gained after falling about 7% in the prior session, when a new wave of coronavirus infections across Europe dampened expectations of any imminent recovery in fuel demand.

U.S. crude recently rose 2.58% to $61.55 per barrel and Brent was at $64.74, up 2.31% on the day.

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