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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World Economy
US stock investors brace for more swings
    2018-February-13  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

THE inflation boogeyman has reared its ugly head and sent U.S. stock investors racing for the hills in recent days.

This week, coming off one of the most volatile stretches in years, two important readings on U.S. inflation could help determine whether the U.S. stock market begins to settle or if another bout of volatility is in store.

If the January’s U.S. consumer price index due Wednesday from the U.S. Labor Department, and the producer price index the next day, come in higher than the market anticipates, brace for more selling and gyrations for stocks.

U.S. consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.1 percent year on year in December and is expected to stay around that pace this month.

“If we get a hot CPI print it will insert additional uncertainty, but if we get a quiet, below-consensus print, you may see yields down and equities rally,” said Jason Ware, chief investment officer and chief economist at Albion Financial Group in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The equity market has become highly sensitive to inflation this month. A selloff in U.S. stocks earlier last week was in large part sparked by the Feb. 2 monthly U.S. employment report, which showed the largest year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings since June 2009.

Recent U.S. tax cuts that may spur economic growth, the prospect of more government borrowing to fund a widening fiscal deficit, and rising wages, have all pushed up benchmark U.S. Treasury yields to near four-year highs.

“This is how we started, go back to Friday and this is exactly where we were,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.

“The conversation about equity risk premium, interest rates and inflation, we are coming full circle.”

The jump in wage inflation pushed yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note closer to the 3 percent mark last seen four years ago, denting the attractiveness of equities, and unnerving investors fearful inflation will force the U.S. Federal Reserve to raises short term interest rates at a faster pace than is currently priced into the market.

The current earnings yield for the S&P 500 index companies stands at 5.4 percent, below the 6.4 percent average of the past 20 years. As bond yields rise the spread between the two narrows, prompting asset allocation changes between equities and fixed income.

Investor concerns over inflation was reflected in Lipper funds data Thursday, which showed U.S.-based inflation-protected bond funds attracted US$859 million over the weekly period, the largest inflows since November 2016.

On Thursday, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said the U.S. central bank’s forecast of three rate hikes still seemed a “very reasonable projection” but added there was a potential for more, should the economy look stronger.

Traders are currently putting the chances of a 25 basis point hike by the Fed at its March meeting at 84.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Benchmark 10-year note yields last week rose to a four-year high of 2.885 percent. On Friday, benchmark 10-year notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 2.853 percent.

While many analysts were predicting bond yields to rise this year as global economies improve, the suddenness of the move was a large factor in the recent stock market selloff.

The 10-day correlation between the S&P 500 index and yields on the 10-year note was at a negative 0.79, as of late Thursday.

On Friday, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index closed out their worst two-week performance since August 2011.

“The pace really does matter,” said Ron Temple, head of U.S. equities and co-head of multi asset investing at Lazard Asset Management in New York.

“If we see 3 percent next week that is going to spook people more — the equity market psyche is fragile at this point,” Temple said Friday. (SD-Agencies)

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