Tech stocks and Canada dollar flash points as Fed meets: Reuters

The prospect of the United States, the world’s largest economy, raising interest rates and shrinking its mammoth balance sheet reverberated across markets from Toronto to Beijing on Tuesday.

U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers gather in Washington for their two-day meeting against the backdrop of a slide in tech stocks that serves as a warning of how tighter financial conditions may hurt sectors where valuations appear stretched.

That sell-off, which centered on Wall Street, abated in Asia and Europe on Tuesday, but there were other flash points in currency and debt markets as the Fed’s next move was seen potentially influencing central banks in Canada and China.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise its benchmark interest rate in a decision scheduled for Wednesday and may also provide more details on its plans to shrink $4.5 trillion dollars of assets it amassed to nurse the economic recovery.

The Canadian dollar hit a two-month high after a policymaker said the central bank would assess if it needs to keep rates at near-record lows as the economy grows, while the prospect of the Chinese central bank raising short-term rates has come as its yield curve inverts in a worrying sign for growth.

The gap between benchmark U.S and European bond yields hit its widest in a month as the Fed meeting also shone a light on the slow pace of change in European Central Bank policy. <GVD/EUR>

“If the Fed is tightening policy and embarking on a gradual normalization path, whether it is the short-term policy rates or the balance sheet, it wants the market to believe it and to adjust to it,” said Frederik Ducrozet, an economist at Pictet Wealth Management.

“It is not just about complacency and the creation of financial bubbles…but also about its own credibility.”

The Bank of Japan and the Bank of England also meet this week, although no major policy changes are expected.


Asian and European stocks rebounded on Tuesday despite U.S. tech stocks .SPLRCT having notched up a 3.5 percent fall over the past two sessions, driven by losses at Apple (AAPL.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O).

European stocks rebounded from seven-week lows in early deals on Tuesday as shares in tech firms recovered and financials rose. .EU

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX index> was up 0.5 percent, partly recovering losses from the previous session following a brutal sell-off in tech stocks .SX8P. The tech sector was the top sectoral gainer, up 1.1 percent after posting a 3.6 percent loss on Monday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.5 percent, recouping about half of the previous session’s losses. The MSCI Asia Pacific Information Technology index .MIAP0IT00PUS steadied, after sliding 1.4 percent on Monday.

Some analysts had predicted Asian tech shares would not see as intense a sell-off as their U.S. peers as their valuations were less stretched.

“Comparatively, valuations for the IT sector in the Asia Pacific region are less expensive compared to the U.S., which may be why we’re not seeing the situation further aggravate for a second session,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=

A small majority of traders in China’s financial markets think its central bank will likely raise short-term interest rates again this week if the U.S. Federal Reserve hikes its key policy rate, according to a Reuters poll.

But the reaction to this in bond markets has been concerning.

China’s two-year yields CN10YT=RR have in the last few sessions risen above its 10-year yields CN10YT=RR – a trend that has only happened in a few instances over the past decade and suggests investors have worries over the long-term health of the world’s second biggest economy.


In currencies, the Canadian dollar CAD= strengthened about 0.4 percent to trade at C$1.326, after gaining 1.1 percent on Monday.

Monday’s comments from a Bank of Canada official was a change in tone for the central bank, which said earlier this year that rate cuts remain on the table.

“It feels like a long time since markets have been treated to unscheduled hints of tightening, and this was quite apparent when you saw the positive reaction of CAD crosses overnight,” Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at ThinkMarkets in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

Against a broad basked of trade-weighted peers, the U.S. dollar was a touch weaker. .DXY

Sterling recovered around 0.3 percent against the euro and the dollar, having fallen almost 3 percent slide since the first hint of UK election results on Thursday night, helped by hopes domestic politics may be inching towards a “softer” and less economically damaging Brexit. <GBP/>

In commodities, oil advanced on news that Saudi Arabia would make supply cuts to customers. <O/R<

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $48.51 per barrel at 0649 GMT, up 22 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close.

By John Geddie | LONDON

(Additional reporting by Nichola Saminather in Singapore; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: Reuters

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