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Shares rise as cyclical stocks provide support; yields climb

FILE PHOTO: A sign for the Wall Street subway station is seen in the financial district in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global equity markets snapped a three-day losing streak to inch higher on Friday as investors sold technology shares and rotated into economically sensitive cyclical stocks in anticipation the U.S. economy will boom on pent-up demand once the coronavirus pandemic is subdued.

Oil prices fell from recent highs as Texas energy companies began preparing to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather, while U.S. Treasury yields climbed.

The MSCI’s global stock index was up 0.16% at 679.74, after losing ground for three consecutive sessions.

On Wall Street, stocks steadied as cyclical sectors edged higher while tech names, which had started the session modestly stronger, reversed course to extend their recent decline.

A battle continues between tech-led growth stocks and cyclicals, companies that are heavily affected by economic conditions, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“When the economy is roaring, they’re roaring. When the economy is weakening, they’re weakening,” Ghriskey said. “The economy will roar, at least for a period of time. There’s huge pent-up demand, whether just for travel or going back to work.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.98 point, or 0%, to finish at 31,494.32, the S&P 500 lost 7.26 points, or 0.19%, to close at 3,906.71 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.11 points, or 0.07%, to end at 13,874.46.

The S&P 500 technology and communication services sectors fell, while financials, industrials, energy and materials rose more than 1%.

European shares edged higher on Friday as an upbeat earnings report from Hermes boosted confidence in a broader economic recovery. The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.53%.

U.S. Treasury yields on the longer end of the curve rose to new one-year highs on Friday as Congress was poised to act on a massive coronavirus relief package, while the yield on 30-year inflation-protected securities (TIPS) turned positive for the first time since June.

Core bond yields have pushed higher globally, led by the so-called reflation trade, where investors wager on a pickup in growth and inflation. Growing momentum for coronavirus vaccine programs and hopes of massive government spending under U.S. President Joe Biden have spurred reflation trades.

The benchmark 10-year yield was last up 5.6 basis points at 1.3381%, its highest level in about a year.

The 30-year TIPS yield, which had been in negative territory since June, surpassed the 0% mark, rising after a weak auction of $9 billion of the securities on Thursday. It was last at 0.029%.

Oil prices retreated from recent highs for a second day on Friday as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.

Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, analysts estimated.

Brent crude futures settled at $62.91 a barrel, down $1.02 or 1.6%, while U.S. crude oil futures settled at $59.24 a barrel, down $1.28, or 2.1%.

Copper jumped to its highest in more than nine years on Friday and towards a third straight weekly gain as tight supplies and bullish sentiment toward base metals continued after the Chinese New Year.

Spot gold XAU= was down 0.38% at $1,782.2367 an ounce.

The dollar lost ground on Friday, extending Thursday’s decline as improved risk appetite sapped demand for the safe-haven currency and drew buyers to riskier, higher-yielding currencies. The dollar index was off 0.223%.

Bitcoin rose to yet another record high on Friday, hitting a market capitalization of $1 trillion, blithely shrugging off analyst warnings that it is an “economic side show” and a poor hedge against a fall in stock prices.

(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Herb Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis)

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