* S&P 500 up slightly in early New York trading
* China 3rd-quarter GDP grows 4.9%, below expectations
* Dollar up slightly (Updates with early U.S. markets activity, changes byline, changes dateline from MILAN)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Equity indexes across the globe were near flat on Monday as data showed slower-than-expected growth in China’s economy last quarter, while five-year Treasury yields rose to their highest levels since early 2020.
The U.S. dollar index edged higher along with the rise in yields amid investor expectations the Federal Reserve will need to increase interest rates sooner than previously expected to quell rising price pressures.
Some market watchers say the U.S. central bank will need to move as inflation looks unlikely to fade anytime soon.
“Global bond markets are finally waking up to the risks that inflation isn’t as transitory as most central banks insist,” Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, said in a report. In the U.S. Treasury market, yields on five-year bonds rose as high as 1.193%, their highest since February 2020, extending a two-week rising streak.
At the same time, yields on 30-year U.S. bonds were only slightly higher, flattening the gap between five-year and 30-year debt to its narrowest since early 2020.
Adding to global inflation worries, data on Monday showed New Zealand’s consumer price index rose 2.2% in the third quarter, its biggest increase in over a decade, causing the local dollar to jump as much as 0.5% before changing course.
Equity investors were digesting data that showed China’s gross domestic product grew 4.9% in the July-September quarter from a year earlier, its weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020.
The world’s second-largest economy is grappling with power shortages, supply bottlenecks, sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks and debt problems in its property sector.
China’s outlook as well as supply constraints related to the pandemic have been issues for U.S. companies, which have just begun to report results for the third quarter.
In equities, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 19.06 points, or 0.05%, to 35,275.7, the S&P 500 gained 6.68 points, or 0.15%, to 4,478.05 and the Nasdaq Composite added 40.96 points, or 0.27%, to 14,938.30.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.52% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.05%.
The dollar index gained 0.1% against a basket of other currencies to 94.04, after earlier rising to 94.17.
Bitcoin last rose 0.75% to $62,003.35.
Oil prices were little changed in early New York trading after earlier hitting multi-year highs.
Spot gold ticked up 0.2% to $1,770.30 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan, Karen Brettell in New York, Ross Kerber in Boston and Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)