Stocks flat to down after CPI data; Treasury yields ease

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Global stock indexes were flat to lower on Thursday as data showed U.S. consumer price inflation came in above economists’ expectations in December, raising some doubts that the Federal Reserve will cut rates as soon as some traders expect.

Bitcoin rose to a two-year high as several exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tied to the spot price of the cryptocurrency began trading.

U.S. Treasury yields slid, while the dollar was down on the day against the euro and the yen but off lows reached before the U.S. CPI report.

The day’s data showed headline CPI rose 0.3% last month, for an annual gain of 3.4%. That was expected to be 0.2% and 3.2%, respectively.

“This is not pernicious, it’s not a bad number… This is not a signal of a resurgence of inflation. All it’s saying is that inflation has come down,” said Thierry Wizman, global FX and interest rate strategists in Macquarie, New York.

“So, bottom line, this is not dangerous, the Fed will still be easing,” Wizman said, adding that a rate cut will not happen in March, as many expected, but will start later in the year.

Traders have been pricing in aggressive expectations for rate cuts this year, with the Fed seen as possibly beginning to cut rates in March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15.29 points, or 0.04%, to 37,711.02, the S&P 500 lost 3.21 points, or 0.07%, to 4,780.24 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.54 points, or 0%, to 14,970.19.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose early in the session and briefly surpassed its record closing high from January 2022.

Also, Microsoft briefly overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable company for the first time since 2021.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.77% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.06%.

The dollar index was last down 0.05% on the day at 102.29. It had traded at around 102.20 before the data was released.

The euro gained 0.09% on the day to $1.09820. The greenback gained dipped 0.20% to 145.48 yen, after earlier reaching 146.10, the highest since Dec. 11.

The benchmark 10-year yield was last down 4.9 basis points (bps) at 3.980%.


Bitcoin reached $49,051, the highest since December 2021, and was last up 1.80% at $46,800.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission late on Wednesday gave the green light to offer ETFs linked to bitcoin.

Crypto stocks like Coinbase were down on Thursday.

Investor focus will soon turn to U.S. earnings season, with banking giants including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo due to report earnings on Friday.

Oil futures and gold prices advanced. Brent futures rose 61 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $77.41 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 65 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $72.02.

Spot gold added 0.1% to $2,024.69 an ounce.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; additional reporting by Marc Jones in London and Herbert Lash in New York and Ankur Banerjee in SingaporeEditing by Mark Potter, Timothy Heritage and Nick Macfie, Aurora Ellis and Marguerita Choy)