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Stocks, Futures Weather Focus on Risk of Fed Taper: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Asian stocks were steady Thursday and Treasury yields held an advance as traders weighed Federal Reserve minutes that flagged the possibility of a debate on scaling back asset purchases.Equities ended virtually unchanged in Japan, posted losses in Hong Kong and China, and outperformed in Australia. U.S. futures fluctuated after the S&P 500 pulled back for a third day. The Nasdaq 100 notched a small advance, boosted by late-day gains in tech stocks including Facebook Inc. European contracts were in the green.The minutes indicated some Fed officials may be open “at some point” to discussing adjustments to the pace of massive bond purchases if the U.S. economy keeps progressing rapidly. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was steady after climbing to 1.67%. A dollar gauge trimmed a rally.Commodities have slid amid concern about inflation, potential curbs on monetary stimulus and China’s efforts to rein in raw material prices. Volatility swept over cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin posting a same-day plunge and rally of about 30% Wednesday. The sector was more stable Thursday.Stocks have lost steam in recent sessions on worries about inflation and a Covid-19 resurgence in some countries. Speculative ardor is also waning, underlined most recently by the gyrations in digital tokens. Any hints of a timeline for paring back exceptional stimulus could exacerbate such trends, even though U.S. policy makers have signaled they intend to maintain an accommodative stance for a prolonged period.“It was a surprise to hear the talk about Fed tapering,” Joyce Chang, JPMorgan’s chair of global research, said on Bloomberg TV. “The market had been thinking there might be a couple of months before you really saw this particular issue come into focus.” Still, Chang said it was not the time to bet against the broader fundamentals right now on the outlook for growth.Oil edged up after slumping to the lowest in three weeks with traders also concerned about growing supply from the U.S. and Iran.Here are some key events this week:IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and ECB President Christine Lagarde speak at the Vienna Economic Dialogue ThursdayEuro-area finance ministers and central bank chiefs hold an informal meeting. A larger group of EU finance ministers and central bank chiefs will meet May 22These are some of the main moves in markets:StocksS&P 500 futures were little changed as of 7 a.m. in London. The index retreated 0.3%Nasdaq 100 contracts dipped less than 0.1%. The gauge rose 0.2%Japan’s Topix index rose less than 0.05%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.2%South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.4%Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index retreated 0.5%China’s Shanghai Composite index was flatEuro Stoxx 50 futures rose 0.6%CurrenciesThe Japanese yen was at 109.12 per dollar, up 0.1%The offshore yuan traded at 6.4411 per dollarThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index dipped 0.1%The euro was at $1.2180BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries inched lower to 1.66%Australia’s 10-year bond yield was at 1.77%CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate rose 0.6% to $63.72 a barrel after falling 3.3%Gold was at $1,873.38 an ounce, up 0.2%More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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