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US stocks shrug off dreary World Bank outlook, yen tumbles

Wall Street stocks finished higher despite a bumpy start after a downcast report from the World Bank. ©AFP

New York (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished a roller-coaster session higher Tuesday, while the yen touched a fresh 20-year low against the dollar in anticipation of more US monetary tightening.

After declines by most leading European and Asian bourses, US stocks also began the day with losses following a downcast outlook from the World Bank and a profit warning from retail giant Target.

The World Bank cut its global growth estimate to 2.9 percent, 1.2 percentage points below the January forecast, in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has sent grain and oil prices soaring.

Meanwhile, Target said it was canceling orders and undertaking heavy markdowns due to excess inventory, some of which arrived late because of supply chain problems. 

But while Target fell 2.3 percent, the broader market recovered as investors viewed the downcast statement as consistent with recent earnings from retailers highlighting higher costs. 

"I thought it was a little unfair to punish the markets twice for Target," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital. 

"There's certainly a lot of uncertainty in terms of data.We're waiting for inflation later this week," Ablin said."In the meantime, we're going to see a fair amount of turbulence."

All three major US indices finished solidly higher, with the broad-based S&P 500 up one percent.

Earlier in Asia, Sydney's stock market had closed down more than one percent after the Australian central bank announced a bigger-than-forecast rate hike to quell inflation.

Leading central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, have implemented interest rate hikes in response to the pricing pressures. 

At a closely-watched meeting Thursday, the European Central Bank is expected to cease its stimulus program in a prelude to hiking rates. 

But the Bank of Japan has taken a hands-off approach to the wave of price increases, pressuring its currency -- the yen hit a fresh 20-year low against the dollar and seven-year low against the euro.

"The BoJ stands out among its global peers in not tightening policy, which is leading to a widening interest rate differential as other central banks continue hiking," noted Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid.

Key figures at around 2040 GMT

New York - Dow: UP 0.8 percent to 33,180.14 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.0 percent at 4,160.68 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.9 percent at 12,175.23 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,598.93 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.7 percent at 14,556.62 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.7 percent at 6,500.35 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.8 percent at 3,806.74 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 27,943.95 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.6 percent at 21,531.67 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,241.76 (close)

Dollar/yen: UP at 132.62 yen from 131.88 yen late Monday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0715 from $1.0696 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2592 from $1.2532

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.02 pence from 85.35 pence

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $120.57 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.8 percent at $119.41 per barrel


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