Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Global stock markets have climbed to a new record as government bond yields eased, despite a rise in US inflation. Consumer prices rose by 0.6% in March from the month before, pushing the annual rate of inflation up to 2.6% from 1.7%.
But markets took the data, released yesterday, in their stride. Analysts reckon that they are unlikely to change the US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s view that higher inflation in coming months, as the economy reopens, will prove transitory. We will hear from Powell later today.
US Treasury bond yields continued to fall, to a fresh three-week low. They have eased to 1.6217% since hitting a 14-month high off 1.776% on 30 March.
The MSCI gauge of equities in 50 countries advanced 0.34% to hit a fresh peak. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.4% and the Australian stock market advanced 0.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei slid 0.4%. European markets are expected to open higher, too.
US stocks rose to new record highs yesterday, with the S&P 500 closing 0.33% higher and the Nasdaq adding 1%, while the Dow Jones slipped 0.2%.
Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets, told Reuters:
Once again, markets are looking on the the bright side, and despite that higher-than-expected inflation read, it’s been interpreted as a sign of better growth. We’ve seen support for those high-growth tech stocks, and other sectors exposed to economic growth, including financials.
Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco has reported a near-20% slide in 2020 pre-tax profits to £825m, despite enjoying “exceptionally strong sales” during the pandemic. But the increased cost of doing business due to coronavirus restrictions ate into profits.
9am BST: IEA Oil market report
9.30am BST: UK Labour productivity final for Q4
10am BST: Eurozone Industrial production for February (forecast: -1.1% m/m)
12pm BST: US MBA Mortgage applications for the week of 9 April
3pm BST: ECB president Christine Lagarde speech
3.30pm BST: Bank of England policymaker Jonathan Haskel speech
5pm BST: US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell speech