By Riva Gold
Stocks wavered Friday while bond yields rose ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration as investors parsed Chinese growth figures and fresh comments on U.S. interest rates.
The Stoxx Europe 600 dipped 0.1% in morning trading, led lower by the real-estate and health-care sectors.
The moves followed a downbeat session on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average erased its gains this year in its fifth consecutive session of losses. Futures pointed to a 12 point-opening loss for the blue-chip index on Friday and a 0.1% rise for the S&P 500.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to deliver an inaugural address later Friday as he is sworn in as the 45th U.S. president. Although few market participants expect the speech itself to spark volatility, some are hoping clarity from Mr. Trump on the new administration's policy priorities will help reignite a stalled postelection rally that had been fueled by hopes for reduced regulation and taxation.
"We've got many generalities and not many specifics as far as policies," said Jon Adams, investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management.
New details or a timeline on taxation and infrastructure spending plans would be supportive of a further move higher for stocks, he said. Possible changes to immigration and trade policy changes pose risks to the market, he said.
U.S. stocks have broadly outperformed their global peers since the November election, in part due to comments by Mr. Trump surrounding trade and relations with China.
China's economy was also in focus as data showed China notched a 6.7% gain in economic growth last year--the weakest rate in ageneration--despite a surge of easy credit and state spending.
"Our biggest concern right now is China and the tightrope they're walking," said Erik Knutzen, multi-asset chief investment officer at Neuberger Berman. "I do not expect it to fall into crisis from currency flows or debt levels, but tail risks are increasing."
He has been adding primarily to domestically-geared U.S. stocks, particularly smaller companies, that he expects to benefit from higher U.S. growth and interest rates.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7% as the data roughly matched economists' expectations, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and Australia's S&P ASX 200 shed 0.7% following the declines on Wall Street.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average added 0.3% as recent gains in yields of long-dated bonds boosted insurers.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose Friday to 2.504% from 2.461% Thursday, when expectations for higher U.S. rates after a speech by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen sent it to its biggest daily jump of the year. 10-year German bund yields rose to 0.335% from 0.301% and superlong Japanese government bond yields touched one-month highs. Yields move inversely to prices.
In a speech Thursday, Ms. Yellen signaled a gradual course for interest rate rises, noting she doesn't see the U.S. economy at risk of overheating and doesn't expect growth to pick up much soon.
The WSJ Dollar Index was last up 0.1%, with the dollar up 0.1% against the yen while the euro was down 0.1% against the dollar at $1.0647. The British pound fell 0.3% to $1.2298 after disappointing U.K. retail sales data. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.1% despite the decline of the pound.
In commodities, Brent crude oil rose 1.2% to $54.80 a barrel, while gold was flat at $1,201 an ounce.
and Mark Magnier contributed to this article.Write to Riva Gold at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 20, 2017 05:46 ET (10:46 GMT)
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