Dollar Advances as Stocks Decline With Commodities: Markets Wrap

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The dollar strengthened as investors digested a week which saw Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen kept alive prospects for a March rate increase.

Equities in Europe fell, paring a second weekly advance, led by commodity producers as prices of industrial metals were dragged down by signs of tightening liquidity in China, the biggest consumer of raw materials. The euro weakened and French bonds declined after the French Socialist Party’s presidential candidate, Benoit Hamon, said he’s in talks with far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon about a single candidacy that would increase the likelihood of a stand -off with far-right front runner Marine le Pen.

Traders have gone back and forth assessing the prospects for President Donald Trump’s economics plans and the timing of U.S. interest-rate increases. Trump’s plans last week to unveil a “phenomenal” tax policy spurred a rally in stocks, the dollar and emerging-market assets. In Congressional testimony this week, Yellen warned against waiting too long to tighten policy and said a healthier economy may warrant higher interest rates.

“Many do believe that the market is getting ahead of itself and there is just too much optimism about how far Trump can go with his fiscal and tax plans as he still needs full approval from congress,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K. Ltd. “The chances of that are not that great and this is what makes some investors a little pessimistic.”

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.5 percent as of 10 a.m. in London as energy companies declined 1.3 percent.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index dropped 0.3 percent after the benchmark gauge fell for the first time in eight days, halting the longest rally since 2013.

Commodities

  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which measures returns on raw materials, fell 0.4 percent, heading for its fourth weekly drop in five.
  • Oil declined 0.2 percent to $53.28 a barrel. Crude is heading for its first weekly decline in five weeks as expanding U.S. crude stockpiles countered output cuts from OPEC and other producing nations.
  • Gold nudged 0.2 percent higher to $1,241.56 an ounce and is and is set for its seventh weekly gain in eight weeks.

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