By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 20 (Reuters) – Stock indexes around the globe were mostly higher on Thursday, with Wall Street led by gains in technology shares, while U.S. Treasury yields fell after a weaker-than-expected U.S. business activity reading.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index fell to 31.5 from 50.2 in April, its highest pace in nearly half a century. The reading was shy of economists’ expectations of 43.0, a Reuters poll found.
Cryptocurrencies bounced back from their recent sharp drop. Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was most recently up 13.4% at $41,812 after plummeting to 54% below its record high hit just over a month ago after some of its prominent backers reiterated their support for the digital currency.
Smaller rival Ether ETH=BTSP gained 19.5% to $2,911. On Wednesday, it fell 22.8%, its biggest daily fall since March 2020.
Investors also are still digesting minutes from Fed’s meeting last month, which showed a number of officials thought that if the recovery holds up, it might be appropriate to “begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases.”
The S&P 500 technology index .SPLRCT was up 1.6%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 220.59 points, or 0.65%, to 34,116.63, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 39.94 points, or 0.97%, to 4,155.62 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 209.50 points, or 1.58%, to 13,509.24.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 1.23% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.87%.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR fell 4.3 basis points to 1.640% and the breakeven rate on five-year U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) US5YTIP=RR slid to 2.608%.
Market expectations of a further rise in inflation would need evidence of the economy moving past full employment very, very rapidly, said Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA LLC.
“We’ve probably already reached the peak level of economic activity, and that probably happened in March and April,” Ricchiuto added.
In the foreign exchange market, the dollar lost ground with weakening Treasury yields.
The dollar index =USD fell 0.36%, with the euro EUR= up 0.3% to $1.2208.
The bounces in cryptocurrencies came after crypto backers such as Ark Invest’s ARKK.P Cathie Wood and Tesla’s Elon Musk indicated their support on Wednesday.
Concerns over tighter regulation in China and unease over the extent of leveraged positions in the cryptocurrency world had caused this week’s big selloff.
Outages at several major trading platforms during the maelstrom, which also set ether ETH= tumbling nearly 50%, did little to inspire confidence.
SPACs – special purpose vehicles set up and listed to buy up other firms – enjoyed huge growth last year, as did the ARK innovation fund that focuses on tech companies.
Oil prices slipped, with Brent crude LCOc1 down 0.7% at $66.21 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate U.S. oil Clc1 down 0.6% at $62.97.
U.S. gold futures GCc1 fell 0.30% to $1,875.70 an ounce.
World FX rates YTDhttp://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
Global asset performancehttp://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn
India’s debts are highest among clutch of potential fallen angelshttps://tmsnrt.rs/33AbQIc
(Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London, Herbert Lash and Stephen Culp in New York; Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Tom Westbrook in Singapore Editing by Peter Graff, William Maclean and Will Dunham)
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