European shares followed their Asian counterparts higher as benchmark Treasury yields held steady below 3 percent. The dollar weakened as investors prepared for Jerome Powell’s first appearance as Federal Reserve Chairman in which he may give clues on U.S. monetary policy.
The Europe Stoxx 600 Index jumped to its highest level in more than three weeks as all major industry groups rallied. Powell will speak before congressional committees on Tuesday and Thursday. Russia’s ruble appreciated the most in emerging markets after S&P Global Ratings boosted its credit score to investment grade. The yen firmed to a one-week high, gold climbed and German bunds were little changed.
Powell may help set a new direction for investors at a time when some of the biggest names in markets are at odds over the implications of this month’s surge in Treasury yields. Morgan Stanley put out a bullish call on Treasuries Monday, countering warnings on the securities from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Warren Buffett. Bond traders are still pricing less than the three quarter-point interest-rate hikes that Fed officials have signaled as likely this year.
Powell “looks like he is on track to keep the Yellen strategy — so, gradual rate rises this year,” Stephen Halmarick, head of global markets research at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, told Bloomberg TV in Sydney, referring to ex-chair Janet Yellen.
Elsewhere, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank has no plan to overhaul its current form of easing, adding that he saw no need to do another comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of the bank’s policies. Oil steadied as Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said OPEC and its allies may ease output curbs in 2019 in a way that won’t disturb the market. Bitcoin slid below $9,500.
Here are some key events scheduled for this week:
ECB President Mario Draghi speaks in Brussels on Monday.
Bank of Korea has policy decision and briefing on Tuesday.
Powell testifies before a House panel on Tuesday. He’ll discuss the Fed’s Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report and the state of the economy. Powell returns on March 1 before a Senate committee.
Companies announcing earnings this week include: Vale, BASF, Standard Chartered, Bayer, Lowe’s, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Peugeot, WPP, and London Stock Exchange Group.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on Britain’s relationship with the European Union after Brexit.
A barrage of data is expected out of Japan including retail sales and industrial production Wednesday, and capital spending Thursday.
In China, the official and Caixin purchasing managers’ indexes on Wednesday and Thursday respectively may show growth momentum slowed slightly in February, though the signal may be clouded by the holidays.
These are the main moves in markets:
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.7 percent as of 8:12 a.m. London time, the highest in more than three weeks on the largest rise in more than a week.
Germany’s DAX Index gained 0.8 percent to the highest in almost three weeks.
The MSCI All-Country World Index climbed 0.4 percent to the highest in more than three weeks.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.3 percent to 1,123.22, the lowest in a week.
The euro increased 0.3 percent to $1.2329.
The Japanese yen climbed 0.3 percent to 106.62 per dollar, the strongest in a week.
The British pound increased 0.5 percent to $1.4038, the strongest in more than a week on the largest climb in more than a week.
The Russian ruble rose 0.4 percent to 55.881 per dollar, the strongest in 10 months.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 2.86 percent.
Germany’s 10-year yield was steady at 0.65 percent.
West Texas Intermediate crude held at $63.58 a barrel.
Gold climbed 0.8 percent to $1,339.51 an ounce, the highest in a week on the biggest increase in more than a week.