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Global equity index dips as investors await inflation prints

Global equity index dips as investors await inflation prints

By Sinéad Carew and Alun John

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) -A global equities gauge fell slightly on Tuesday while U.S. indexes were a mixed bag and the benchmark Treasury yield was higher as investors awaited inflation data due later in the week for potential clues about the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

U.S. Treasury yields rose after a weak auction. They had already gained some steam earlier in the day, given U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly improved in May amid optimism about the labor market after deteriorating for three consecutive months, a survey showed. Also, U.S. house price growth slowed sharply in March, likely as rising mortgage rates weighed on demand.

But equity investors were most focused on waiting for price data that isn’t due out until Friday. The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation barometer, the U.S. core Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index report, is expected to hold steady on a monthly basis for April.

“It’s a holiday shortened week so volume is likely to be pretty low all week. That’s combined with the fact that markets are focused on one key data point due out Friday,” said Gene Goldman, chief investment officer at Cetera Investment Management in El Segundo, California, referring to Monday’s U.S. Memorial Day holiday.

“The market is anxiously sitting on the sidelines waiting to get confirmation that inflation is slowing towards the Fed’s target,” he said.

On Tuesday at 2 p.m. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was down 2.06 points, or 0.26%, at 791.29.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 282.72 points, or 0.72%, to 38,786.87, the S&P 500 lost 8.17 points, or 0.15%, to 5,296.55 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 63.43 points, or 0.37%, to 16,984.22.

Earlier Europe’s STOXX 600 index closed down 0.6%.

In Treasuries, yields initially slipped after the house price data but regained some ground after the consumer confidence survey release. Then 5-year and 10-year yields hit their highest levels since early May after 2-year and 5-year notes auctions.

The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes rose 6.7 basis points to 4.54%, from 4.473% late on Friday while the 30-year bond yield rose 7.6 basis points to 4.6531%.

The 2-year note yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, rose 2.5 basis points to 4.9785%, from 4.953%.

In currencies, the dollar index was barely higher ahead of the inflation data, which is expected to affect expectations for major central bank monetary policies.

The index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies including the yen and the euro, gained 0.01% at 104.57, with the euro up 0.06% at $1.0864.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar strengthened 0.15% at 157.1.

Oil prices rose on the expectation that OPEC+ will maintain crude supply curbs at its June 2 meeting, while a weaker U.S. dollar made the commodity more attractive to holders of other currencies. [O/R]

U.S. crude gained 2.55% to $79.69 a barrel and Brent rose to $84.06 per barrel, up 1.16% on the day.

Gold prices rose slightly as investors waited for the crucial U.S. inflation data.

Spot gold added 0.26% to $2,356.82 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 1.17% to $2,359.70 an ounce.

(Reporting by Sinéad Carew, Johann M Cherian, Lisa Pauline Mattackal, Alun John, Stella Qiu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Edwina Gibbs, Ana Nicolaci da Costa, Will Dunham, Alison Williams and Deepa Babington)

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