NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Bond yields spiked and global share prices slipped after hitting new highs on Tuesday after the biggest jump in U.S. inflation in 13 years scared investors who have seen equity prices double from last year’s lows.
U.S. equity futures and the yield on benchmark U.S. government debt initially fell on news the U.S. consumer price index in June jumped 5.4% year over year, the largest gain since August 2008, the Labor Department said.
A poorly received Treasury auction sparked a 5-basis point jump in the benchmark 10-year note to 1.413% in early afternoon trade, after earlier falling to 1.343%.
The inflation spike followed a 5.0% increase in the 12 months through May, while CPI rose 0.9% month over month after advancing 0.6% in May, gains that spooked investors.
Stocks on Wall Street initially took the CPI data in stride to bid up technology stocks that typically thrive with low interest rates.
Then came the Treasury sale of $24 billion in 30-year bonds, with the yield, at 2.000%, significantly above the market at the bidding deadline, which was indicated to be 1.976%, said Lou Brien, market strategist at DRW Holdings in Chicago.
The jump in inflation ultimately is a negative hanging over a market that has enjoyed a remarkable rally since the lows of March 2020, said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.
“Inflation is not the worst news for stocks, but it’s very bad news for bonds,” Meckler said. “You’re starting to see some of the potential negatives that could bring an end to this incredible rally this year.”
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 50 countries, fell 0.15% to 726.27, while Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.07% to close at 1,779.34.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 77.78 points, or 0.22%, to 34,918.4, the S&P 500 lost 9.85 points, or 0.22%, to 4,374.78 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 40.06 points, or 0.27%, to 14,693.18.
Traders are looking forward to Fed Chair Jerome Powell testifying before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday for any signals on the timing of a potential tapering of its bond-buying program.
The euro was last down 0.62% at $1.1785 and the yen was last up 0.25% at $110.6300.
Overnight in Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1%, its best daily gain since late June, led by a 1.6% rise in Hong Kong, where tech stocks rose broadly. Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.5% while Australian shares closed broadly flat.
In Hong Kong, tech behemoth Tencent Holdings Ltd jumped 3.9% after China’s antitrust regulator on Tuesday approved its plan to take China’s No.3 search engine, Sogou Inc, private in a $3.5 billion deal.
“We have clearly seen a (new) round of corrections of the technology sector, which places a heavy weight on Hong Kong’s stock market, due to concerns over a new round of regulatory crackdown following the probe into Didi. Against this backdrop, there is room for a short-term rebound,” said Zhang Zihua, chief investment officer at Beijing Yunyi Asset Management.
Euro zone government bond yields have fallen in line with U.S. Treasuries in recent weeks, and are running close to their lowest levels since early April.
Germany’s 10-year bond yield was unchanged at -0.30%, close to a three-month low of -0.344% that was hit last week.
South Africa’s rand dropped to a three-month low, slipping 1.2% to 14.4000 against the dollar, as violence escalated over the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.
Oil prices edged up as tight supply and expectations of a further draw in U.S. and global crude inventories provided support, though fears over the spreading COVID-19 variant capped gains.
Brent crude was last up $1.19, or up 1.58%, at $76.35 a barrel. U.S. crude was last up $1.09, or up 1.47%, at $75.19 per barrel.
Spot gold prices rose $0.8326, or 0.05%, to $1,806.71 an ounce.
Reporting by Herbert Lash; additional reporting Karen Brettell and Saqib Ahmed in New York, Karen Pierog in Chicago, Julie Zhu in Hong Kong; Sujata Rao and Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by Stephen Coates, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Gareth Jones, Dan Grebler and Sonya Hepinstall