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Dollar gains on lower rate cut expectations, stocks flat

Kitco News

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rose and European shares fell on Wednesday as traders scaled back expectations of an aggressive cut in U.S. interest rates in July, while Wall Street rose on hopes of a China-U.S. trade breakthrough at the G20 summit later this week in Japan.

Gold fell 1% after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday the U.S. central bank is “insulated from short-term political pressures,” suggesting policymakers would not bow to pressure from President Donald Trump to sharply cut rates.

Trump said Powell was doing a “bad job” and he called on the central bank to lower rates so the United States can compete with countries that he said are devaluing their currencies.

A pullback in the Japanese yen and Swiss franc was limited as traders remain jittery about a resolution to the U.S.-China trade spat. Some bids for both safe-haven currencies persisted amid tensions between Iran and the United States.

“Our expectation is that there will be some sort of trade truce or some goodwill signs coming out of the G20 meetings between Donald Trump and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds.

“But neither side is ready to end the war,” Kelly said, adding trade differences between the two countries likely will continue through to the U.S. presidential elections in November 2020.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump told Fox Business Network he would impose additional duties on Chinese imports if he does not clinch a deal with Xi.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.01%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.23% and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares fell 0.22%.

Stocks rose on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 49.15 points, or 0.19%, to 26,597.37. The S&P 500 gained 5.33 points, or 0.18%, to 2,922.71 and the Nasdaq Composite added 48.14 points, or 0.61%, to 7,932.85.

Gold snapped a six-session streak of gains after prices hit a six-year peak of $1,438.63 on Tuesday, mostly on expectations the Fed would cut rates in acknowledgment of slowing growth.

Spot gold shed 0.93% to $1,409.50 an ounce.

The greenback was slightly lower against the euro at $1.1374, and the dollar index edged up 0.04%.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.44% versus the greenback at 107.68 per dollar.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 11/32 in price to lift its yield to 2.0296%.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield nudged off record lows.

Oil prices rose about 3%, buoyed by U.S. government data that showed a much larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories and surprise drops in refined product stockpiles.

Brent crude futures rose $1.48 to $66.53 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.59 to $59.42 a barrel.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Susan Thomas

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