July 13 New York

The DJIA rose by 20.95 points to 21553.09 while the S&P 500 added by 4.58 points to 2447.83.  The Nasdaq Composite Index gained by 13.266 points to 6274.437 while the Nasdaq 100 Index rose by 14.406 points to 5793.356.  The yield on 10-year Treasurries rose by 2.7 basis points to 2.344 percent.  The yen weakened by 0.11, closing at 113.28 per U.S. dollar.  WTI crude futures rose for a fourth day, adding 59 cents to settle at $46.08 a barrel.  Brent added 68 cents to end at $48.42.  The WTI settlement was the highest since July 3 and came on a forecast that global demand growth will accelerate this year, even as supplies drain more slowly than anticipated.  U.S. stocks rose,sending benchmark indexes toward all-time highs, while Treasuries fell as Janet Yellen signaled continued stimulus as the American economy sustains a steady pace of growth.  The S&P 500 Index closed within five points of its record while the DJIA reached a fresh high as the central bank chair reiterated her intention to tighten only gradually.  Financial shares led gains with three large banks slated to deliver earnings Friday.  Treasuries gave up Wednesday’s gains as Yellen offered a note of caution on the economy’s growth rate while the U.S. dollar was mixed against its major peers.  “It’s something that would be wonderful if you can accomplish it – I’d love to see it,” Yellen said of 3 percent growth rates in response to a question during her Senate hearing.  “It would be quite challenging.”  Yellen’s signal that the economy is not in danger of overheating, with inflation rates stubbornly below Fed targets, comes as the central bank seems likely to err on the side of not tigtening too quickly.  Investors will get clues on how choppy data during the second quarter translated into corporate earnings when JPMorgan Chase &Co., Well Fargo& Co., and Citigroup Inc. report Friday.  Investors also digested fresh news out of Washington, where Senate Republicans unveiled a new health-care bill they hope to bring up for a vote next week.  The move comes as the Trump administration attempts to move past the latest diversion from its policy agenda.  Iron ore imports by China this year are on course to exceed 1 billion metric tons by a comfortable margin, breaking 2016’s record, after first-half figures showed another jump in cargoes and highlighted the ability of the top steelmaker to absorb rising supplies.  Miners’ shares advanced.  Shipments in June were 94.7 million tons, up from 91.5 million in May, according to customs data on Thursday.  In the first six months, imports rose to 539 million tons, 9.3 percent higher than the same period in 2016.  Last year, China only just beat the 1 billion ton mark, importing 1.024 billion tons.  Asia’s top economy has been pulling in ever-greater volumes of low-cost ore to meet resilient demand from mills, which have benefited from rising steel prices in the second quarter.  The increase is aiding the largest miners including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tint Group, as well as Brazil’s Vale SA.

Kazuhide Matsuishi

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