Aussie, kiwi jet higher after Yellen sounds cautious

By Saikat Chatterjee

CHINA TRADE: Chinese trade growth accelerated for a second month in June in a positive sign for global demand and the world's No. 2 economy.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.90 percent while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares rose 1.64 percent and emerging market stocks rose 1.10 percent. The data likely will keep the Fed on track for a third interest rate increase this year.

In regard to the central bank's plan to wind down its 4.5-trilllion-U.S. dollar balance sheet, Yellen reiterated that the balance sheet reduction will be conducted in a gradual and predictable way. Crown Castle International rose $1.76, or 1.8 percent, to $100.05.

The dollar was little changed against a group of peers early on Friday, as currency investors remained cautious ahead of USA inflation data due later in the session, which is expected to set the greenback's near-term direction.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.1 percent to $1.14 while the dollar was down 0.1 percent at 113.09 yen.

The Australian dollar - which is sensitive to Chinese data - traded at $0.7710 US late afternoon Thursday compared to the $0.7680 seen before news.

"Dollar positioning is short and yesterday's testimony just confirmed what the market believed: that the Fed is not going to be able to be as hawkish as they are suggesting", said Athanasios Vamvakidis, head of G10 FX strategy with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London.

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Shortly after her testimony, the Fed released a report on the economy showing most United States regions saw "slight to moderate" growth in June, and few signs of price pressures, even while some firms report having to offer higher wages to attract qualified workers. The next focus for markets will be Yellen's testimony to the Senate Banking Panel and US inflation data on Friday.

Dow Jones closed up by 0.12 percent, S&P 500 ended up 0.19 percent, Nasdaq finished the day up by 0.21 percent. China's exports in June grew 11.3% year-on-year, above the expected 8.7%, while imports rose 17.2% vs. the 13.1% forecast.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.302 percent, its lowest in two weeks, before paring some gains to trade at 2.3141.

Brent crude settled up 68 cents or 1.42 percent at $48.42 a barrel.

Hong Kong jumped 1.2 percent to its highest level since mid-2015 and Sydney climbed 1.1 percent. The New Zealand dollar was up 0.83 percent on Thursday against the greenback and the Australian dollar gained 0.7 percent.

Wall Street posted slight gains on Thursday and the Dow hit another record high close, with financials rising ahead of profit reports due Friday from several big US banks.

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