NEW YORK, Feb 13 — Global stock indexes were little changed yesterday while the US dollar inched higher ahead of today’s US consumer price index report, which could provide clues on when the Federal Reserve is likely to begin cutting interest rates.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin hit the US$50,000 (RM238,250) level for the first time in more than two years. Bitcoin was last up 5.6 per cent at US$50,207. Crypto stocks also were higher; Coinbase Global rose 3.7 per cent.

The S&P 500 ended down slightly after hitting a fresh intraday record high. Last week the S&P 500 finished above 5,000 points for the first time ever. The MSCI world stock index was flat after touching its highest level since January 2022.

The January consumer price index report is due today, while the US producer prices report is due later in the week. Investors are also eager to see Thursday’s US retail sales report for January.

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Expectations of a Fed rate cut at its next meeting have fallen as some recent data has suggested the economy remains robust.

Markets are pricing in an 84.5 per cent chance of rates remaining unchanged in March. Also, the odds for at least a 25-basis-point rate reduction in May have dropped to 61 per cent, from over 95 per cent at the start of 2024, as per the CME FedWatch Tool.

“Soft CPI and soft retail sales should help boost the Fed’s confidence that inflation is coming back to its target,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex in New York.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 125.69 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 38,797.38, the S&P 500 lost 4.77 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,021.84 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 48.12 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 15,942.55.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 nations, lost 0.01 per cent. European stocks were up 0.5 per cent.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia were closed for holidays.

Mainland China’s financial markets are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday and will resume trade yesterday, February 19. Hong Kong trade will resume on February 14.

Investors have also reduced their expectations for rate cuts by the European Central Bank, after two policymakers said last week that the ECB needs more evidence that inflation is easing before it can cut rates.

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its January Survey of Consumer Expectations, which showed inflation a year and five years from now were unchanged at readings of 3 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively. The projected rise in inflation three years from now dropped to 2.4 per cent, the lowest since March 2020, from December’s 2.6 per cent.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies of other major trading partners, was up 0.1 per cent at 104.13.

The dollar rose 0.03 per cent against the yen to 149.35, while the euro EUR= was down 0.1 per cent on the day at US$1.0769.

US Treasury yields dipped, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note pausing after three straight sessions of gains.

The yield on benchmark US 10-year notes ticked down 1.9 basis point to 4.168 per cent, from 4.187 per cent late on Friday.

Oil futures ended mixed near flat. Concerns about interest rates and global demand caused the market to take a break after prices jumped about 6 per cent last week.

US crude rose 8 cents to settle at US$76.92 a barrel. Brent crude fell 19 cents to settle at US$82.

Spot gold prices fell 0.3 per cent. — Reuters