US stocks gain at top of data-heavy week amid suspected yen intervention

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks gained ground on Monday and the yen surged amid suspected intervention as investors embarked on what promises to be an action-packed week.

All three major U.S. stock indexes were modestly higher at the top of a week filled with high profile earnings, crucial economic data and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting.

Meanwhile, the yen jumped after touching 34-year low, with traders citing heavy yen-buying intervention by Japanese banks.

“It’s a playbook that they’ve used before – nobody is commenting despite all the confirmations that it occurred,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird in Louisville, Kentucky. “It’s a holiday (in Japan) as well, so it’s a light volume day which points to some obvious conclusions even if its not official.”

This week’s data releases include European inflation and U.S. labor market indicators, while the Fed is due to convene on Tuesday for its two-day meeting at which it is expected to keep its key interest rate unchanged, but strike a hawkish tone.

“Inflation is not exactly where they want it to be, but it has come down to the point where if the labor market shudders even a little bit the Fed will pivot back to dovish talk pretty quickly,” Mayfield added. “The labor market is the car we’ll drive for the rest of the year.”

Earnings season shifts into overdrive this week with high profile results expected from (NASDAQ:), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) and others.

The rose 114.41 points, or 0.3%, to 38,354.07, the gained 10.04 points, or 0.20%, to 5,110 and the added 40.17 points, or 0.25%, to 15,968.07.

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European shares eked out a nominal gain, backing down from a two-week high after Germany reported higher-than-expected inflation. Investors now eye the Fed’s rate decision on Wednesday.

The pan-European index rose 0.07% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.37%.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.99%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.97% higher, while rose 0.81%.

Japan’s yen jumped as much as 5 yen against the dollar, then eased back a bit amid suspicions that Tokyo intervened in the currency market for the first time in 18 months.

Japan’s top currency diplomat Masato Kanda declined to comment when asked if authorities had intervened, though traders said they had.

was last lower against a basket of world currencies.

The fell 0.28%, with the euro up 0.25% to $1.0719.

The yen strengthened 1.49% versus the greenback at 156.02 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2559, up 0.56% on the day.

U.S. Treasury yields pulled back from last week’s highs ahead of a Fed meeting and crucial economic data expected later in the week.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 14/32 in price to yield 4.6136%, from 4.669% late on Friday.

The 30-year bond last rose 21/32 in price to yield 4.7378%, from 4.782% late on Friday.

Crude prices dipped as Israel-Hamas peace talks lowered the geopolitical temperature and tempered fears of a widening regional conflict.

dropped 1.45% to settle at $82.63 per barrel, while settled at $88.40, down 1.23% on the day.

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prices reversed an earlier loss and was last essentially unchanged as investors await crucial data and potential clues regarding the Fed’s rate cut path.

added 0.1% to $2,339.54 an ounce.

(This story has been refiled to add a missing word in the headline)


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