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Stocks fall after initial Fed minutes lift, Treasuries yields hit high note

24 February 2018, 09:29 | Melanie Burgess

Stocks fall after initial Fed minutes lift, Treasuries yields hit high note

A man walks past a bank electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index outside a Hong Kong local bank Thursday Feb. 22 2018. Most Asian stock indexes fell Thursday tracking Wall Street’s decline after the latest Fed report rekindled fears about

The Conference Board said its leading economic index jumped by 1.0 percent in January after climbing by 0.6 percent in December.

Yields jolted upwards to four-year highs on Wednesday after release of the Fed meeting minutes.

The S&P 500 was up 0.75 percent at 2,721.61 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.64 percent to 7,264.69.

The UK's FTSE 100 index rose 0.5 percent, led by a 5.2 percent rally in Glencore shares.

"Certainly bond yields pulling back today is helpful for stocks, at least for the short term, that has been the narrative that is out there - that higher bond yields are weighing on stocks and this preoccupation with three percent", said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index, meanwhile, rose 53 points, or 0.7%, to 7,263.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 75 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,037.

Investors largely expect the Fed to raise rates three times this year, beginning with its next meeting in March, the first under new Chair Jerome Powell.

U.S. Treasury 10-year note yields, which hit a more than four-year high at 2.9570 per cent following the release of the minutes, have eased to 2.8915 per cent.

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It is still down more than 4% in February so far, however, after global equity markets were mauled at the start of the month by the concern that inflation is picking up. The Fed policy report appeared to echo that view.

By this he meant that raising interest rates does not have an immediate impact on the economy. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 2.89 percent.

"Because although it will discount equities and create more volatility, it is a sign that secular stagnation, disinflation.are finally in the rearview mirror and now we're in a normal market", he said, referring to a period framed by easy-money policies across much of the globe in the wake of the 2007-09 financial crisis.

The focus is now on New York Fed President William Dudley, Cleveland Fed's Loretta Meister and their San Francisco counterpart, John Williams, who will be speaking later in the day.

Shares of Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc.(BUFF) soared 17% in after General Mills Inc.(GIS) announced an $8 billion buyout of the company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/general-mills-buying-pet-foods-maker-blue-buffalo-in-8-billion-cash-deal-2018-02-23).

General Mills shares however slipped 3.91% to trade at US$52.80. Gains in those companies lifted the consumer-discretionary and information-technology sectors-the S&P 500's best performers this year. It also came before a very inflationary and stimulative budget deal in Congress that is expected to push the annual deficit past the $1 trillion threshold soon.

Technology stocks, which led the early gains, ended lower.

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