Rishi Sunak's appointment as Britain's prime minister boosted the pound

New York (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rallied and the dollar slid Tuesday on hopes for a moderation in Federal Reserve policy, while the pound shot higher as former finance chief Rishi Sunak became Britain’s prime minister.

US stocks rallied for a third straight day, propelled by a drop in US Treasury yields following disappointing consumer confidence data as concerns about costs of living intensified.

The data was the latest to suggest a slowing US economy, a dynamic that markets paradoxically welcome because of the prospect of a moderation in Federal Reserve policies following a series of aggressive interest rate hikes to counter inflation.

“What it offers is confirmation that what the Fed is trying to accomplish is starting to work,” said Art Hogan, analyst at B. Riley Financial.

All three major US indices finished solidly higher, with the broad-based S&P 500 winning 1.6 percent.

Hogan also said that corporate earnings thus far have been “better than feared,” giving the market more running room.

The latest batch of results included better-than-expected profits from Coca-Cola and General Motors.

While US stocks forged higher, the dollar retreated against other major currencies following the signs of a weakening US economy.

Investors have embraced the idea that the Fed could discuss slowing rate hikes at its December meeting, said Joe Perry, US market analyst at Forex.com.

“The markets love the idea of an unhurried pace of increases, and therefore stocks went bid and the US dollar sold off throughout the morning,” Perry said.

The British pound was among the beneficiaries of the weaker dollar, rallying as Sunak promised to bring economic stability after the turmoil that forced predecessor Liz Truss out of Downing Street.

“Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis,” he told the nation in a televised address.

He vowed to place “economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda”, and kept Jeremy Hunt on as finance minister.

His reassuring message resonated on bond markets, where the yields on British government bonds, or gilts, fell. Rising bond yields had helped push Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss out of office.

“UK gilt yields have continued to track lower, as Rishi Sunak’s journey to Downing Street further improves market sentiment after a tumultuous month,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“With yields falling into a one-month low, we are seeing markets provide a clear vote of confidence that Sunak will manage to avoid the kind of missteps taken by his predecessor,” he added.

A strong pound is not good for many multinational firms listed on London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which ended the day flat.

Frankfurt stocks rose 0.9 percent and Paris jumped 1.9 percent.

In Asian equities trading, Hong Kong steadied after the previous session’s rout triggered by China President Xi Jinping tightening his grip on power.

- Key figures around 2040 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 1.1 percent at 31,836.74 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.6 percent at 3,859.11 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 2.3 percent at 11,199.12 (close)

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,013.48 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.9 percent at 13,052.96 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.9 percent at 6,250.55 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.6 percent at 3,585.58 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 27,250.28 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.1 percent at 15,165.59 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 2,976.28 (close)

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.1478 from $1.1278 on Monday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 147.92 yen from 148.91 yen

Euro/dollar: UP at $0.9971 from $0.9874

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.85 pence from 87.55 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.9 percent at $85.32 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.3 percent at $93.52 per barrel