US Stocks Retreat From Record High, Dollar Near 10-Week Low

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FILE PHOTO: A passerby wearing a protective mask is silhouetted in front of a screen of blank prices on a stock quotation board after Tokyo Stock Exchange temporarily suspended all trading due to system problems, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan October 1, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

NEW YORK ⸺ U.S. stocks fell on Monday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped back from a record high, as worries about accelerating inflation dragged on shares and hobbled the dollar, which struggled at a 10-week low.

U.S. equities’ losses deepened as the breakeven rates for U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS, scaled multi-year highs, underscoring rising inflation expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.1% after rising to a record 35,091.56 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 extended losses to 1%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.55%.

The stocks pullback was mirrored by a broad retreat in riskier assets such as oil and copper, as some investors grew nervous after recent hefty gains.

Indeed, copper prices had also shot to an all-time high earlier on Monday as investors piled in on bets of improved demand amid a tightening supply, and driven by the fear that they were missing out on a price rally. [MET/L]

Some analysts warned that investor bets on mounting inflation pressure and ensuing interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could be overdone.

“We see a high bar for the Fed to change its policy stance,” Jean Boivin, head of BlackRock Investment Institute, said, noting a “disconnect” between the market’s pricing for rates to rise as early as next year, and the Fed’s rate projection.

For now, Monday’s jump in the breakeven rate for TIPS was the focus of some investors.

Speculation that growing price pressure would erode the dollar’s value kept the U.S. currency near a 2-1/2-month low. By late Monday, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, had pared losses to stand at 90.302. [USD/]

A sluggish dollar helped sterling rally to $1.416, the highest since Feb. 25, despite Scotland’s leader saying another referendum on independence was inevitable after her party’s resounding election victory.

Rising inflation expectations lifted longer-dated U.S. Treasury yields. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes stood at 1.6038% after plunging to a two-month low of 1.469% on Friday.

Five-year TIPS rose to 2.72%, its highest since April 2011, following Friday’s 2.681%.

The 10-year TIPS breakeven rate also rebounded after closing at 2.503% on Friday. It was last at 2.54%, its highest since April 2013, indicating the market sees inflation averaging 2.5% a year for the next decade.

Oil prices gave up earlier gains as concerns that rising COVID-19 cases in Asia will dampen demand outweighed expectations that a major U.S. fuel pipeline could restart within the week following a cyber attack. [O/R]

Brent crude was little changed at $68.31 per barrel and U.S. crude was also largely flat at $64.91 a barrel. 

A weaker dollar also helped to boost gold prices. Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,835.44 per ounce, after touching its highest since Feb. 11 at $1,845.06. [GOL/]

The focus now shifts to U.S. consumer price data due on Wednesday, which will help investors determine whether to scale back inflation expectations even further. 

In the cryptocurrency market, ether pared earlier gains to trade under $4,000. Bigger rival bitcoin fell 4.6 % to $55,667. 

Reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan and Stanley White in Tokyo; editing by Mark Heinrich, Steve Orlofsky and Richard Chang; Reuters

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