Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, March 30:
1. Dollar index reclaims 100
The U.S. dollar rose to the highest level in almost two weeks on Thursday, amid expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.2% at 100.00 by 5:55AM ET (09:55GMT). It touched an overnight high of 100.05, extending a bounce off a four-and-a-half month low of 98.67 reached at the start of the week.
The greenback was boosted by hawkish comments from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, a voter on the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee, who said he sees one or two more rate hikes this year, in line with most of his colleagues.
Comments from Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and San Francisco Fed President John Williams also backed multiple rate hikes, though those officials are non-FOMC voters.
2. More Fed speakers, U.S. GDP ahead
There are four more Fed speakers on the calendar for Thursday. New York Fed chief William Dudley is expected to be the most important, with a 4:30PM ET discussion on financial conditions and monetary policy.
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks at 8:45AM ET, San Francisco Fed President Williams speaks at 11AM ET, while Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan speaks at 3PM in New York.
On the data front, investors will have initial jobless claims and the final look at fourth quarter GDP, both released at 8:30AM ET.
The Fed raised interest rates earlier this month and stuck to its outlook for two more hikes this year. Fed fund futures priced in around a 50% chance of a rate hike in June, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds of a September increase was seen at about 70%.
3. Global stocks flat-to-lower in cautious trade
U.S. stock market futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday morning, with the Dow futures down around 0.1%, as traders eyed a few pieces of data and Fed speakers.
In Europe, stocks were little changed in muted mid-morning trade, with Germany’s DAX up around 0.1%, while London’s FTSE 100 shed 0.1%, as the Brexit process got underway.
Earlier, in Asia, markets ended mostly lower, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing down 1%, while Japan’s Nikkei slumped 0.8%.
4. German, Spanish inflation disappointment hurts euro
Weak initial readings of German and Spanish inflation sparked speculation of a broader slowdown across the euro area, reducing pressure on the European Central Bank to rein back its stimulus measures.
The euro took a spill after German state Saxony reported a slump in annual inflation to 1.8% from 2.4% a month ago. The national reading is due later on Thursday.
That came after data showing the inflation rate in Spain weakened this month for the first time in almost a year. Consumer price growth came in at an annual 2.3% in March, weaker than economists had predicted and down from 3% in February.
The soft data fed into a debate about the euro zone’s monetary policy outlook after a report Wednesday said that ECB officials were unhappy at a shift in market expectations towards tighter monetary policy and higher euro zone interest rates.
The euro was down around 0.3% at 1.0735 against the greenback, after falling to a nine-day low of 1.0731.
5. Oil rally loses steam after reaching 3-week highs
Oil prices pulled back from a three-week high on Thursday, as a recent rally lost steam amid concern over swelling stockpiles in the U.S.
U.S. crude was down 12 cents, or about 0.2%, to $49.39 a barrel, pulling back from an overnight high of $49.75, which was the most since March 21. Brent lost 25 cents to $52.30, after climbing to $52.69 earlier.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that crude oil inventoriesincreased by 867,000 barrels last week to yet another all-time high of 534.0 million.
Losses were limited as supply disruptions continued in Libya and the OPEC-led output cut looked likely to be extended.[:]