| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

Stocks rise for sixth straight session, yen climbs on BOJ speculation

As investors reviewed the start of the U.S. earnings season on Friday, a barometer of global stocks rose for a sixth straight session. In contrast, the yen surged to a seven-month high on anticipation the Bank of Japan may decide to change its loose monetary policy.

U.S. equities fell on Wall Street following earnings reports from many major banks, including JPMorgan Chase (-0.26%), Wells Fargo (-1.74%), Bank of America (-1.42%), and Citigroup (-0.55%).

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan also expressed caution about the slowing economic environment.

“Some of the comments about fears of a recession and (the banks) trying to continue to fortify their balance sheet against loan losses have more people nervous,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“Earnings as a whole were pretty good, banks remain extremely well capitalized.”

Still, major U.S. indexes had pared initial declines as the bank stocks moved off their early lows, with the S&P 500 banks index down 1.04% after dropping as much as 2.93%.

Helping to alleviate the initial selling pressure was data showing U.S. consumers see inflation easing over the next 12 months, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, and which came on the heels of the consumer price index reading on Thursday which showed consumer prices fell slightly in December.

The greenback weakened to its lowest level against the yen since late May on speculation the Bank of Japan may revise or possibly even abandon its yield curve control policy as early as next week, which also pushed benchmark 10-year government bond yields briefly above the central bank’s 0.5% ceiling.

The BOJ subsequently stepped in to announce two separate rounds of emergency buying to pull the yield back down.

Expectations of a forthcoming change from the ultra-easy policy intended to keep yields close to zero have grown as a result of a newspaper report indicating the prospect of additional flexibility. The BOJ announced that it will buy more outright bonds on Monday, which should keep rates in check.

According to sources familiar with the bank’s thinking, the BOJ will probably increase its inflation estimates next week and discuss whether more actions are necessary.

Standard U.S. 10-year notes were down 0.2 basis points at 3.445% from late on Thursday, when they were at 3.447%.

  • Reuters