Top Fed official warns the COVID delta variant is a threat to the US economy and says the central bank will keep supporting growth

Mary Daly Federal Reserve San Francisco
Mary Daly is president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve.

  • The COVID delta variant is a threat to the global economy and US growth, a top Federal Reserve official said.
  • SF Fed boss Mary Daly told the Financial Times the central bank should be patient in supporting the US recovery.
  • Policymakers are debating how fast to withdraw support in the wake of a rapid rebound.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

A top policymaker at the Federal Reserve has said the fast-spreading delta COVID-19 variant poses a risk to the rebound in global growth, and said the central bank should be patient in supporting the US recovery.

“I think one of the biggest risks to our global growth going forward is that we prematurely declare victory on COVID,” Mary Daly, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday.

She said countries around the world need to increase their vaccination rates, or COVID could continue to spread and act as a “headwind on US growth.”

Policymakers around the world are bracing for the delta variant to spread further, after sending cases soaring in the UK. Transmission of the coronavirus has started to rise again in 14 US states, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation told Insider. About 60% of COVID-19 cases across the US are due to the delta variant, researchers at Scripps have estimated.

Daly, who is a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, struck a cautious tone on the topic of when the US central bank should cut back its support for the economy. This currently consists of $120 billion a month in asset purchases and interest rates near zero.

She said the Fed is committed to both price stability and full employment. She added that it should “really be patient enough and persevere enough to deliver on those commitments which we’ve made to the American people.”

Read more: $1.2 trillion investment manager Nuveen says making these 5 stock trades will help investors dominate the market in the second half of 2021 as the US reaches ‘peak growth’

Daly said: “I think there’s always this excitement that ‘Oh my gosh: look, the vaccinations are working, this could be the end’. But it would be premature to say that we’ve achieved a victory here.”

Global stocks fell on Thursday and bonds rose as investors worried that economic growth could be slower than initially expected. Concerns were driven in part by the rapid spread of the delta variant around the world.

Bond prices have risen sharply in recent weeks, pushing down yields, after the Fed’s June meeting. Fed officials brought forward their forecasts for when interest rates would start to rise to 2023, making investors think medium-term growth and inflation will be a bit lower than previously thought.

Minutes from the June meeting showed that there is a lively debate going on inside the Fed about when to cut back on support. Daly told the FT that the debate was a healthy sign that decisions aren’t being made in an echo chamber.

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S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures hover near record highs after Joe Biden strikes $1 trillion infrastructure deal, while oil prices rise

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President Joe Biden (right) reached a deal with Republicans on infrastructure.

S&P 500 futures hovered near a record high on Friday after President Joe Biden struck a deal with Republicans on a $1 trillion infrastructure deal, which includes $579 billion of new spending.

Futures for the benchmark S&P 500 were up 0.05%, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.04%, after both indices hit a record high on Thursday. Dow Jones futures rose 0.26%, with industrial firms more likely to benefit from infrastructure spending.

In Asia overnight, China’s CSI 300 jumped 1.63% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.66%. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index slipped 0.09% in early trading.

President Biden’s deal would see over $1 trillion spent on upgrading the US’s infrastructure over the next eight years. Roads, bridges and rail networks would be particular priorities.

Biden pushed Congress to pass the bill on Thursday, saying: “We have to move and we have to move fast.”

Oil prices extended their rally on Friday, heading for a fifth weekly consecutive gain, with Brent crude up 0.36% to $75.82 a barrel and WTI crude up 0.27% to $73.50.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: “News of the infrastructure plan also spilled over to the oil price in anticipation of further energy demand.”

The deal helped push a broad range of stocks higher, including Caterpillar and Tesla, which both climbed more than 2.5%.

Bank shares also rose on Thursday after the Federal Reserve said lenders had passed stress tests and could resume stock buybacks and dividend payments.

Elsewhere, falling bond yields suggested investors are becoming comfortable with the central bank’s management of the economy and markets.

The yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note, which moves inversely to the price, was roughly flat on Friday at 1.488%, down sharply from a high of more than 1.75% touched at the end of March. The dollar index was down 0.1% to 91.72.

One possible obstacle for markets is the release of the May core personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, due at 8.30 a.m. ET. Analysts expect a 3.4% increase from 3.1% in April.

“While Fed officials have assured us that all of this is likely to be transitory, a high number could well give the markets pause,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at trading platform CMC Markets, said.

Bitcoin slipped 1.8% to $34.226, according to Bloomberg data. The cryptocurrency fell below $30,000 on Tuesday, but investors have since shown willingness to buy the dip.

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Tech stock futures slip as investors brace for a jump in inflation, while bitcoin rebounds after sharp drop

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Investors and traders were bracing for key inflation data on Thursday.

Tech stock futures slipped on Wall Street on Thursday as investors around the world awaited key US inflation data, which is expected to show a sharp rise in prices in May.

Meanwhile, bitcoin rallied after its recent tumble as investors were drawn in by the lower price. The dollar and Treasury yields moved slightly higher.

Futures were mostly flat, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index down 0.2%. S&P 500 futures down 0.05% and Dow Jones futures up 0.03%.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was down 0.08% as the European Central Bank prepared to set monetary policy.

In Asia overnight, China’s CSI 300 rose 0.67% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.34%.

Markets have been subdued for much of the last two weeks, with investors happy to see stocks tick slowly higher as economies reopen. The S&P 500 and the Stoxx 600 have been trading around record highs.

Yet the US consumer price index inflation data, due to be released at 8.30 a.m. ET on Thursday, has the potential to shake markets.

Economists expect CPI to have jumped 4.7% year on year in May from 4.2% in April, which was the highest reading since 2008.

Some investors worry that rising prices could force the Federal Reserve to reduce its support for the economy. Inflation also erodes the real returns on financial assets. Tech stocks, which have soared in an environment of low inflation and low interest rates, are particularly vulnerable.

Markets should be able to digest a consensus rise in inflation, but will start to worry if the Fed begins to shift its position, Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at Deutsche Bank, said.

“Next week, the [Fed] is going to have a tougher time maintaining exactly the same ultra-dovish posture as the last few meetings, given the inflation overshoot from prior expectations,” he said.

However, Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Wealth Management, said he agreed with the Fed’s view that inflation should be transitory.

“The effect of very low prices this time last year and the uncoordinated reopening of the global economy are contributing to reported price increases in specific product markets, but should not last,” he said.

Elsewhere, bitcoin rallied on Thursday as investors moved in to buy the recent dip, after El Salvador’s move to make the crypto asset legal tender restored some positivity to the market.

The cryptocurrency was up 1.4% to $36,900, having fallen to around $31,000 on Tuesday. It remained roughly 43% below April’s record high, but around 25% higher for the year.

Bond yields edged higher on Thursday, with the yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note rising 0.5 basis points to 1.494%. Yields move inversely to prices.

The bond market has, in recent weeks, appeared unfazed by rising inflation. The 10-year yield dropped below 1.5% for the first time in a month on Wednesday. The dollar index climbed 0.15% to 90.26 ahead of the inflation data.

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Why gold is a better investment than bitcoin despite the cryptocurrency’s recent dominance, according to SocGen

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  • Bitcoin’s place in investment portfolios is still “highly contested” even after outperforming gold in recent months, says Societe Generale.
  • The cryptocurrency faces multiple risks including regulatory threats and “confusing” messaging from bitcoin backer Tesla.
  • SocGen has assigned gold a 5% weighting in its multi-asset portfolio.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Societe Generale has concerns about bitcoin’s presence in investment portfolios after a week that saw the ever-volatile cryptocurrency plummet more than 30% in a single day. That has the firm weighing gold as a superior option – despite its recent underperformance – given its better protective qualities against inflation.

Gold’s place in investment portfolios is better understood than bitcoin’s, the bank said, adding that it has assigned gold a 5% direct weight in its multi-asset portfolio. SocGen said the metal can partially offset capital losses on bonds in the event of rising inflation, and, in cases of runaway inflation or a return to deflation, the metal has a protective role in partially offsetting losses on equities.

SocGen said gold should be held in portfolios as a stabilizer, especially as the prospect of Federal Reserve tapering lurking as a headwind for stocks, for which the firm currently has a 59% weighting. It’s an outcome that the central bank has at least discussed, according to minutes from their April meeting.

“It comes as no surprise that the place of Bitcoin in any investment portfolio remains highly contested, precisely because of its erratic price movements,” wrote Alain Bokobza, head of Societe Generale’s global asset allocation, and analyst Arthur Van Slooten in a note published Thursday.

Bitcoin’s climb from around $10,000 in September has helped keep alive debate among investors about whether it’s is a stronger hedge against inflation than gold, which is considered a traditional vehicle for inflation protection. The Fed at the end of August said it would tolerate inflation running moderately above its 2% target for a period of time in an effort to support growth in the economy and the labor market.

The cryptocurrency’s standing took a hit this past week after the People’s Bank of China said digital tokens can’t be used as a payment form by financial institutions. Bitcoin had already been hit hard this month after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric vehicle maker would stop taking bitcoin as payment, citing the “insane” amount of energy required to create new coins and secure the network as reasons for the move.

“The risks to bitcoin remain on the downside,” the analysts said, counting among the risks “confusing Tesla communications, past stratospheric price movements, potential new regulations from central banks on cryptocurrencies,” as well as environmental concerns related to its data mining. In another potential regulatory blow, the US Treasury said Thursday it wants every crypto transfer larger than $10,000 to be reported to the IRS.

Following bitcoin’s “latest leg down … investor enthusiasm must surely have cooled,” SocGen said.

And they’re hardly the first firm to point out a possible shift towards gold. JPMorgan research analysts this week said institutional investors are switching out of bitcoin and returning to gold for the first time in six months amid slumping crypto prices.

Read more: 7 crypto heavyweights told us what’s behind the sudden sell-off that erased over $400 billion from the market in just 24 hours – and whether now is the time to ‘buy the dip’

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US futures inch lower for fourth day as investors digest Fed minutes, while bitcoin rebounds after crypto crash

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US stock index futures inched lower on Thursday morning.

US stock index futures inched lower for a fourth day on Thursday after equities fell in the previous session amid concerns the Federal Reserve might cut back on support for the economy sooner than expected and as cryptocurrency markets crashed.

Bitcoin rebounded somewhat after falling as much as 30% on Wednesday in the wake of Tesla’s U-turn on payments and a decision by China to crack down on the token’s use.

S&P 500 futures slipped 0.15% Thursday after the index fell for the third consecutive day on Wednesday. Dow Jones futures were down 0.22% but Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.05%.

European stocks rebounded from sharp falls on Wednesday, when fresh concerns about the economic recovery and the actions of central banks came to the fore. The continent-wide Stoxx 600 was 0.5% higher.

In Asia, China’s CSI 300 closed 0.27% higher overnight, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 eked out a 0.19% increase.

Markets had a rocky day on Wednesday, with US stocks falling sharply before rebounding to close only slightly lower.

The release of the minutes from the Fed’s last interest rate meeting unnerved investors. A single line showed the central bank had discussed the possibility of eventually starting to talk about cutting back on bond purchases as growth and inflation pick up.

“A number of participants suggested that if the economy continued to make rapid progress toward the committee’s goals, it might be appropriate at some point in upcoming meetings to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases,” the minutes said.

US bond yields, which move inversely to prices, jumped as investors digested the minutes. The yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note rose as high as 1.692%, after starting the week at around 1.63%. Yet it slipped back to 1.661% on Thursday.

Analysts were not entirely sure how to interpret the Fed minutes, causing gyrations in stocks. Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at trading platform Oanda, said the minutes “restored a sense of order” by confirming that the Fed remained committed to its ultra-loose monetary policy for the foreseeable future.

Yet Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank said they showed Fed policymakers “have indeed talked about talking about tapering.”

Many investors are highly concerned that rising inflation will erode the value of their portfolios. They are equally as concerned that it will force the Fed and other central banks to reduce their support for the economy, weighing on stocks and growth.

In a sign that investors are becoming wary of high asset prices, bitcoin plunged as much as 30% to $30,000 on Wednesday following a breakneck rally in the first months of 2021 that took the price near $65,000 in April.

The digital asset rebounded later in the day and continued to claw its way higher on Thursday, rising 4.2% to $39,949.

Bitcoin’s rapid multi-day slide was triggered by Elon Musk saying Tesla would no longer accept it as payment for cars due to its “insane” energy use. But the catalyst for Wednesday’s crash was a move by Chinese regulators to step up their pressure on the token’s use.

Analysts said the crypto crash made itself felt across the wider market. “Typically, moves in the crypto arena are rather isolated,” Michael Brown, senior market analyst at Caxton FX, said. “Yesterday, though, was different, with the sell-off in the crypto arena sparking some notable risk aversion elsewhere.”

Brown added: “This ripple effect seems to be a strong illustration of how large crypto markets have become; the correlation between these assets is, at least intraday, fairly clear to see.”

Oil prices also tumbled on Wednesday as investor confidence fell. But Brent crude had steadied on Thursday and rose 0.11% to $66.72 a barrel, while WTI crude climbed 0.32% to $63.53 a barrel.

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US futures rise along with global stocks as Fed officials soothe inflation fears, sending bond yields lower

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Inflation has caused a volatile week on Wall Street.

US futures rose along with global stocks on Friday after Federal Reserve officials stepped in to try to soothe investor fears over rising inflation, and equities rebounded somewhat from sharp falls.

Commodities prices also recovered slightly after sliding earlier in the week on expectations that the Fed may cut back its support for the economy sooner than expected, while bond yields fell.

S&P 500 futures were 0.46% higher on Friday after the benchmark index rose 1.22% on Thursday. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 were up 0.67% and Dow Jones futures had risen 0.36%.

Despite Thursday’s rebound, the S&P 500 had fallen more than 2.8% across the week after sharp falls in the wake of Wednesday’s stronger-than-expected inflation report.

Consumer price index inflation jumped 4.2% year on year in April, the strongest rise since 2008.

The prospect of sustained stronger inflation has worried investors, as it eats into the returns on financial assets and raises the prospect that the Fed may reduce support for the economy to cool prices.

Yet the Fed has insisted it will look past this rise in inflation, which it argues will be temporary.

Fed governor Christopher Waller on Thursday reiterated the point, saying: “The factors putting upward pressure on inflation are temporary, and an accommodative monetary policy continues to have an important role to play in supporting the recovery.”

His words echoed other Fed officials and appeared to calm market nerves on Thursday and Friday.

Lee Hardman, currency analyst at Japanese bank MUFG, said: “The comments have had some dampening impact on Fed rate hike expectations.”

Bond yields, which move inversely to prices, pulled back after rising earlier in the week. The yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note was down 2.8 basis points to 1.640% on Friday.

Asian stocks rallied overnight, with China’s CSI 300 up 2.36% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 rising 2.32%. In Europe, the continent-wide Stoxx 600 was up 0.33% and Britain’s FTSE 100 had climbed 0.77%.

Commodities prices steadied after sharp falls earlier in the week, which were driven by concerns that higher inflation might force the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than previously expected, dampening the economy.

Oil prices gained, with Brent crude up 0.6% to $67.45 a barrel and WTI crude 0.74% higher to $64.29 per barrel.

Bloomberg’s agriculture and livestock commodity index was up 0.94% to 90.89, having tumbled from a high of more than 93.4 earlier in the week.

The dollar index was down 0.34% to 90.44, after climbing sharply on Tuesday. The greenback has been pulled in different directions by volatile bond-market action.

Bitcoin was marginally lower and traded at around $50,300 after a sharp fall on Wednesday and Thursday in the wake of Elon Musk’s decision to halt payments for Tesla in the cryptocurrency.

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US futures soar and global stocks climb as investors cheer huge Apple and Facebook earnings

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

US stock futures climbed sharply on Thursday in the wake of blowout earnings from Apple and Facebook, and after the Federal Reserve promised to keep up its support for the economy.

Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1%, boosted by the big-tech earnings. S&P 500 futures rose 0.67% while Dow Jones futures climbed 0.43% as investors also mulled a major speech by President Joe Biden on his taxing and spending plans.

Booming iPhone sales helped Apple’s profit more than double and revenue soar in its latest fiscal quarter, year on year. The company’s shares rose 2.82% in pre-market trading after it announced a $90 billion share buyback program.

Facebook’s revenue also jumped, helped by soaring advertising prices. Its shares rallied 7.04% in pre-market.

The Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision added to the good mood in the market. The Federal Open Market Committee held interest rates near zero and pledged to keep buying bonds at a pace of $120 billion a month.

And Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that the central bank would keep up its support for the economy, despite the outlook brightening, saying: “We’re a long way from our goals.”

The dollar index fell after the decision and press conference, standing at 90.65 on Thursday, down more than 2.7% in April.

In the bond market, the yield on the key US 10-year Treasury note fell on Wednesday, but picked up again on Thursday morning to stand at 1.647%. Yields move inversely to prices.

“The Fed maintained their very dovish policy stance overnight despite acknowledging the robust US economic recovery at the start of this year,” Lee Hardman, currency analyst at Japanese bank MUFG, said.

“The lack of any hawkish policy shift last night from the Fed has encouraged an extension of the bearish US dollar trend that has been in place this month.” Low US interest rates tend to make dollar-denominated investments less attractive, which weighs on the currency.

Asian and European stocks climbed on Thursday, supported by the Fed and a raft of strong earnings. China’s CSI 300 rose 0.88%, while Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 was up 0.49% in early trading, boosted by strong earnings from consumer goods company Unilever and oil major Shell.

Oil prices – which boosted Shell’s results – rose for the third day on Thursday. The improving outlook in many of the world’s biggest economies supported the market, despite the raging pandemic in India.

Brent crude oil climbed 0.58% to $67.16 a barrel, while WTI crude climbed 0.58% to $64.23 a barrel.

Investors were also weighing President Joe Biden’s Wednesday night speech to Congress, in which he laid out his plan to boost spending and raise taxes to support the US economy.

Biden proposed higher taxes on companies and the rich to pay for a big expansion of the social safety net. He said: “It’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1 per cent of Americans to pay their fair share. Just pay their fair share.”

Stocks initially fell when Biden’s plan to raise taxes on investments were first reported last week, but have since recovered strongly.

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US futures hover near record highs as investors nervously await key US inflation data

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Wall Street awaited US inflation data on Tuesday.

Futures contracts for the major US stock indices were mixed on Tuesday, hovering near record highs as investors awaited key inflation data from the world’s biggest economy.

S&P 500 futures were edged 0.05% higher after the index finished 0.02% lower on Monday, taking it narrowly below Friday’s all-time high. Dow Jones futures rose 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures were roughly flat.

Asian stocks moved broadly higher overnight after data showed Chinese imports and exports rebounded in March. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.72%, but China’s CSI 300 index slipped 0.16% as a spike in yields on the debt of a major asset manager unnerved investors.

In Europe, the continent-wide Stoxx 600 index rose 0.25%. The UK’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.04% despite data showing the country’s GDP rose 0.4% in February.

Meanwhile, bitcoin soared to an all time high of above $62,000 ahead of crypto exchange Coinbase’s IPO, with renewed institutional interest powering the latest leg higher.

The main event on investors’ radar on Tuesday will be US consumer price index inflation data, due at 8.30 a.m. ET.

Predictions of higher growth and inflation have already caused a spike in bond yields, which have in turn weighed on the fast-growing parts of the stock market like technology shares, which look relatively less attractive when yields rise.

Analysts expect Tuesday’s data to show US CPI inflation rose to 2.5% in March from 1.7% in February.

Inflation “has emerged as a key focal point for markets given the debates surrounding inflation and its implications for monetary policy moving forward,” strategist Jim Reid at Deutsche Bank said.

“Indeed, part of the reason that markets have brought forward their expectations for Fed rate hikes is based around rising inflation expectations that they think the Fed might have to rein in.”

Karen Ward, JPMorgan Asset Management’s chief European strategist, has said she thinks inflation could average 3% over the next 10 years, thanks in part to huge amounts of pent-up savings.

However, Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius predicted in a note that underlying US inflation would remain “well below the Fed’s 2% target, consistent with an economy that remains well below full employment.”

Bond yields climbed on Tuesday morning, with the yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note rising 1.5 basis points to 1.691%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Investors will also be keeping an eye on 30-year US Treasury auctions, after 3- and 10-year sales attracted solid demand.

Oil prices edged higher, with Brent crude up 0.4% to $63.54 a barrel and WTI crude 0.3% higher to $59.87 a barrel.

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US futures and global stocks slip as investors brace for key inflation data and company earnings

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Asian stocks fell overnight as investors prepared for a busy week.

US futures slipped on Monday, as investors braced themselves for a busy week of economic data, company earnings and government bond sales, and digested Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments that the US economy is at an “inflection point.”

Futures for the S&P 500 index were down 0.25%, while Dow Jones futures were 0.33% lower. Nasdaq 100 futures had fallen 0.15%.

Shares fell in Asia overnight, with China’s CSI 300 down 1.74% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 0.77% lower.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index slipped 0.43%. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.81%, despite England reopening shops, gyms and pubs.

US stocks rose solidly in the week to Friday as bond yields fell, with the S&P 500 climbing 2.71% as tech stocks got a boost. Lower yields, which move inversely to prices, have helped the US’s giant tech stocks look like attractive investments during the COVID-19 crisis.

But analysts say bond yields have the potential to kick higher over the coming days in the wake of consumer inflation data due on Tuesday and three US bond auctions across the week.

Consumer price index inflation data is due on Tuesday, with economists polled by Reuters expecting a jump to 2.5% from 1.7% year on year in February.

Producer price inflation rose at the fastest rate in more than 9 years in March, data showed Friday, hitting 4.2% year on year.

The sale of 3-, 10-, and 30-year US government bonds could also unnerve the market if demand is low.

“I have suspected that the US yield story had not gone away,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda said. “This week’s data calendar will give plenty of ammunition to prove me right or wrong.”

Bond yields slipped on Monday, however, with the key 10-year US Treasury note yield down 1.1 basis points to 1.655%.

The dollar index was up 0.09% to 92.25.

Investors were also weighing up Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s latest comments.

The head of the world’s most powerful central bank said in an interview with CBS, which aired on Sunday, that the US is at an “inflection point” and is likely to see a boom in growth and hiring, but still faces threats from COVID-19.

“The outlook has brightened substantially,” he told CBS’s “60 minutes.” Yet he said there was a risk that coronavirus starts spreading again.

Another round of major company earnings is also set to begin, with Wall Street titans Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Wells Fargo due to report on Wednesday.

Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note they expect S&P 500 earnings to come in 7.5% above consensus. That would be lower than the last 3 quarters, but still well above the historical average of a 4% beat.

The prospect of a busy week of data and earnings did little to oil prices. Brent crude was 0.43% higher at $63.23 a barrel on Monday, while WTI crude was up 0.32% at $59.48 a barrel.

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US stocks dip as yields rise on Biden’s spending plan and pace of economic recovery

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US stocks were slightly lower at the open on Tuesday and bond yields rose as investors awaited President Joe Biden’s spending plan and continued to assess the fallout from the Archegos Capital Management implosion.

The 10-year Treasury yield continued its march higher, rising by 5 basis points, to 1.77%, its highest in 14 months, since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago.

“We believe the recent rise in nominal government bond yields, led by real yields, is justified and reflects markets awakening to positive developments on the faster-than-expected activity restart combined with historically large fiscal stimulus – all helped by a ramp-up in vaccinations in the U.S.,” a team of strategists from the BlackRock Investment Institute said.

Biden is expected to deliver a speech on infrastructure spending on Wednesday. The plan could include as much as $4 trillion in new outgoings and more than $3 trillion in tax hikes, sources told The Washington Post.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Tuesday:

Bitcoin rose above $59,000 as PayPal announced it would allow US consumers to use their cryptocurrency holdings to pay at millions of its online merchants. Bitcoin has added nearly $8,000 to its price in the past week.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell by 1.6%, to $60.55 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was down 1.35% to $64.11 per barrel.

Gold dropped 1.5%, to $1,687.40 per ounce.

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