The dollar strengthened, while European stocks and US equity futures fluctuated as investors focused on comments from the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank (ECB) about outlook for monetary stimulus.
In Europe, governing council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau said the ECB will keep an easy stance for as long as needed, and US investors took comfort from remarks by two Federal Reserve officials that pushed back on the possibility of tapering bond purchases anytime soon.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said getting through the pandemic remains the policy priority, a sentiment that was echoed by Boston Fed chief Eric Rosengren. That eased concern that the Fed might be headed for a repeat of the so-called taper tantrum in 2013, when the withdrawal of monetary stimulus unleashed volatility across financial markets.
Europe’s Stoxx 600 was flat, with losses in banks and travel shares outweighing M&A announcements.
Among the day’s winners, French grocer Carrefour SA rallied 10% after Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the convenience-store giant that owns the Circle K chain, said it’s exploring a transaction. Telefonica SA also jumped 10% after American Tower Corp. said it would buy telecommunication towers in Europe and Latin America from the company. General Motors Co. added as much as 3.6% in US pre-market trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 outperformed, reaching a record in dollar terms. Equities also ticked up in South Korea, while Hong Kong shares were flat.
Oil futures in New York rose for a seventh session, climbing towards $54 a barrel in the longest run of gains since February 2019.
The combination of an industry report pointing to another decrease in U.S. crude stockpiles, Saudi Arabia’s output cuts and a weaker dollar are all driving the run up in energy prices.