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NEWS

Stocks, dollar dip after data with eyes on Fed

Stocks, dollar dip after data with eyes on Fed

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global stocks declined for the first time in three sessions on Wednesday while the dollar dipped against a basket of peers after a flurry of U.S. economic data and ahead of a policy announcement by the Federal Reserve.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks were lower for the first trading day of the month, after each of the major indexes closed out April with their first monthly declines since October.

U.S. private payrolls increased more than expected in April while data for the prior month was revised higher, the ADP Employment report showed.

A separate report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, showed U.S. job openings fell to a three-year low in March, while the number of people quitting their jobs declined, indications of easing labor market conditions that could potentially aid the Fed in its fight against inflation.

Other data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed U.S. manufacturing contracted in April amid a decline in orders after briefly expanding in the prior month as the sector struggles to regain consistent momentum.

The data comes ahead of the government’s key employment report on Friday.

The Fed is widely expected to hold rates steady at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, with a focus on comments from Chair Jerome Powell that could give a clearer sense of how recent disappointing inflation readings have changed the expectation for interest rate cuts this year.

Markets have dialed back expectations for the timing and amount of rate cuts from the central bank this year, as inflation has proved to be sticky and the labor market remains on solid footing.

“There will be a lot of questions about the timing of this cut, if there’s a hike in play,” said Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments in Atlanta.

“This is a very, very live press conference that could go several directions, I’m certain he has a path he wants to lead the tenor of the press conference.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73.28 points, or 0.19%, to 37,889.20, the S&P 500 lost 9.46 points, or 0.19%, to 5,026.23 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 8.07 points, or 0.05%, to 15,649.75.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe fell 1.91 points, or 0.25%, to 754.70.

Investors were also grappling with a deluge of U.S. corporate earnings, with Amazon up about 3% after its quarterly results to help lift the Dow.

The dollar index fell 0.12% to 106.19 before the Fed statement after earlier reaching 106.49, the highest since April 16, with the euro up 0.14% at $1.068.

The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes fell 2.9 basis points to 4.655%, from 4.684% late on Tuesday. The 2-year note yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, fell 3.6 basis points to 5.0102%, from 5.046%

European bond markets were closed for the May 1 holiday as were most stock markets in Europe and those in China, Hong Kong and much of Asia.

Of the stock markets that were trading, Britain’s FTSE lost 0.33%, and Japan’s Nikkei dipped closed down 0.34%.

Oil prices fell for a third day on Wednesday on increasing hopes for a ceasefire agreement in the Middle East and extending declines after the U.S. EIA storage report.

U.S. crude lost 1.48% to $80.72 a barrel and Brent fell to $85.1 per barrel, down 1.42% on the day.

 

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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