By Huw Jones
LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Stocks rose on Thursday as investors bet central banks will signal a slow or even pause in interest rate hikes next week by the end of the year, with the goal of making recession less likely and easing pressure on corporate profits.
* Oil prices were steady after US crude inventories rose less than expected, while gold traded at $1,941 an ounce, after hitting a nine-month high of $1,949.09 earlier in the week. working day.
* The dollar was teetering near an eight-month low against its peers as a dismal fourth-quarter earnings season continued ahead of next week’s meetings of the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of England. , in which all three are expected to continue raising rates.
* In addition, the Commerce Department will release advance estimates for US Gross Domestic Product in the fourth quarter, with strong growth expected to continue into the final months of 2022.
* Stocks rose on the eve after the Bank of Canada became the first major central bank to say it is ready to pause or end its tightening cycle, and markets are now waiting for other peers to hint at the next week a similar mindset, analysts said.
* “Ultimately, a pause is very different from what the markets are pricing in, which is a cut at the end of this year,” said Mike Hewson, chief strategist at CMC Markets. “It’s more of an illusion than anything else.”
* MSCI’s global stock index was up 0.2% at 644.68, just below the yearly high hit on Monday and accumulating a 6% gain into 2023.
* In Europe, the STOXX 600 was up 0.5%, taking the year’s improvement to 6% and erasing nearly half of 2022 losses. US stock index futures were trading slightly higher.
* Asian stocks hit a new seven-month high as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng soared 2.4%, catching up with gains in other markets as trading resumed after the three-year vacation. days for Lunar New Year.
* MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific excluding Japan shares rose 1.1%, on track for its fifth straight day of gains. The measure has advanced 10% in January, buoyed by expectations of a strong economic rebound in China and hopes that most major central banks are on the verge of ending steep rate hikes.
* In the currency market, the dollar index was trading at 101.70, not far from the eight-month low of 101.51 hit last week. The yen rose 0.15% to 129.76 per dollar, while sterling fell 0.06% to $1.2393.
* The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 3.454%, while the 30-year note fell to 3.6092%.
(Additional reporting by Ankur Banerjee; editing in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)
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