World stocks hit month peak; dollar firms to three-week high

Roman Schwartz
July 22, 2018

The moves so far have triggered retaliation in China and other nations slapping retaliatory tariffs on USA goods.

China stocks were mostly steady, with the Shanghai composite tacking on 0.19 percent and the Shenzhen composite inching lower by 0.04 percent. With 8.7% of S&P 500 having reported, second-quarter earnings for the broad index are up 21.6% from the year-earlier period.

Palladium was down 0.1 percent at $905.47 per ounce. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 2,290.11 as the country's government downgraded its forecasts for job creation and growth.

Benchmark US 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.871 percent, from 2.862 percent late on Tuesday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.7 percent to 6,245.10.

Australian shares rose, led by material stocks after BHP Billiton posted record annual output for fiscal 2018.

Jerome Powell testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on his nomination to become chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2017. Stocks have fallen after Powell's previous major addresses, but not on Tuesday.

The U.S. currency moved around ¥113 in midmorning trading but fell below ¥112.90 later as a sense of achievement grew among market players after the dollar rose above the recent high of ¥112.80, traders said.

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Meanwhile, a weaker Euro supported the Greenback where the single currency dropped by 0.42 against the U.S. Dollar to close the session in the red at 1.16602 EURUSD.

Earnings optimism was boosted by a report from the Federal Reserve showing an increase in USA industrial production led by a rebound in manufacturing.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "Buoyancy in the European session merely carries forward the theme handed down from US overnight and perpetuated in most of Asia today. There are investor and consumer protection issues as well", Powell said.

At the time of writing, the Dollar Spot Index was 0.03% to 94.486, with direction through the day likely to be hinged on Powell's testimony and any fallout from Trump's Helsinki trip in focus, though Trump could look to divert attention by returning to trade. The contract was relatively unchanged at $68.08 in NY on Tuesday.

U.S. crude fell 0.29 per cent to US$67.88 (RM275.12) per barrel and Brent was last at US$71.89, down 0.37 per cent.

The dollar rallied to as high as 113.13 against the yen, its strongest since January 9.

The words "tariff" or "tariffs" have appeared dozens of times in the three Beige Books published since April, including 31 references in the July report released on Wednesday, compared to 20 times overall in the prior two decades of reports.

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