Global stocks rise on earnings boost; U.S. Treasury yields lower


By Matt Scuffham and Tom Arnold

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global stocks rose on Tuesday, helped by strong earnings updates in the United States, but U.S. Treasury yields hovered close to three-week lows on concerns about potential roadblocks to President Joe Biden’s planned $ 1.9 trillion stimulus.

Wall Street’s main indexes opened higher. Strong earnings updates from a slew of companies, including General Electric and Johnson & Johnson, pushed the S&P 500 to a record high.

By 10:23 a.m. ET (1523 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.53 points, or 0.1%, to 30,990.53, the S&P 500 lost 1.52 points, or 0.04%, to 3,853.84 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.56 points, or 0.01%, to 13,634.43.

European stocks also gained despite political upheaval in Italy.

Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.79%, at 1,575.88. The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.8% after Swiss wealth manager UBS posted a surge in quarterly net profit.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 nations, rose 0.29 point, or 0.04%, to 668.37.

After a “buy everything” rally over several months supported by money-printing pandemic stimulus packages, near-zero interest rates and the start of COVID-19 vaccination programs, some investors are worried markets may be near “bubble” territory.

They point to rocketing prices of assets such as bitcoin or, on Monday, the soaring stock of short-squeezed videogame retailer Gamestop.

“There is room for some consolidation,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners.

Mounting coronavirus cases and caution as the Federal Reserve kicked off its two-day policy meeting also tempered sentiment.

“We expect the January FOMC to repeat and reinforce the Fed’s existing dovishness, which is still significant given the recent taper discussions and other central banks’ considerations to adapt policy,” CitiFX strategist Ebrahim Rahbari said in a note.

U.S. lawmakers agreed that getting COVID-19 vaccines to Americans should be a priority even as they locked horns over the size of a pandemic relief package. Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer nevertheless warned the relief package may be four to six weeks away.

Disagreements have meant months of indecision in the United States, where new COVID-19 cases have been above 175,000 a day and millions of people are out of work.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, fell 0.192 point or 0.21%, to 90.199. The euro was last up 0.22%, at $ 1.2164.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was last trading at 1.034%, after earlier slipping to three-week lows.[US/]

Italian government bond yields were lower as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte handed in his resignation to the head of state, hoping he would be given an opportunity to put together a new coalition and rebuild his parliamentary majority.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield fell a basis point to a two-week low of -0.561% before recovering some ground, while Italian 10-year yields were at 0.620%, having earlier touched the day’s high of 0.655%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 11.47 points or 1.58% in Asia overnight. South Korea and Hong Kong topped losers, each falling more than 2%. The sell-off also caused Japanese stocks to slip 1% and Chinese blue-chips to tumble 2%, their biggest one-day loss since Sept. 9.

All had touched milestone highs earlier this month.

Spot gold prices fell $ 0.1315 or 0.01%, to $ 1,854.86 an ounce.

After rising nearly 1% on Monday, Brent crude crude was last up $ 0.18, or 0.32%, at $ 56.06 a barrel. U.S. crude was last up $ 0.05, or 0.09%, at $ 52.82 per barrel.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham in New York and Tom Arnold in London; Editing by Dan Grebler)