GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks fall as supply woes hit earnings, rate concerns weigh

·4 min read

* Global stock prices off record peak

* Yield curve flattens sharply as short yields rise

* BoC suggests early rate hike, RBA stirs bond market

* European stocks seen little changed

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Global stocks eased from record peaks as corporate earnings reports served as a stark reminder of current supply chain challenges, while investors also looked to upcoming central bank meetings to gauge whether policy tightening could come earlier.

MSCI's gauge of world stocks, ACWI, dipped 0.05% in Asia, with Japan's Nikkei leading losses with a fall of 0.9%.

Mainland Chinese shares slipped 0.3%, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked down 0.25%.

European stocks are expected to open flat, with Euro Stoxx futures and Britain's FTSE futures little changed on the day.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.51% from an all-time high of 4,574.79 hit on Tuesday, while the Nasdaq closed the session little changed, thanks to strong earnings from Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet .

But other earnings reports showed the largest U.S. manufacturers including General Motors, General Electric , 3M and Boeing are facing logistics headaches and higher costs due to global supply bottlenecks that are likely to persist into next year.

GM lost 5.4% following their earnings release on Wednesday.

In Asia, Japan's robot maker Fanuc tumbled 7.8% while IT conglomerate Fujitsu shed 8.4% as their earning showed a bigger than expected impact from a global chips shortages.

South Korea's tech giant Samsung Electronics rose 3% after bumper profits but said it expects component shortages to affect chip demand from some customers in the final three months of the year.

"The working assumption in the market has been that the impact of a chip shortage will fade by the end of year. But if it remains a problem next year, investors will surely feel less confident about the outlook," said Masayuki Murata, general manager of balanced portfolio investment at Sumitomo Life Insurance.

With global supply disruption fuelling worries about inflation, investors are keeping close eye on whether major central banks will look to reduce their generous pandemic stimulus measures more quickly.

The Bank of Canada ended its quantitative easing sooner than expected and signalled on Wednesday that it could hike interest rates earlier than previously thought, as soon as April 2022.

The Reserve Bank of Australia skipped a chance to buy a government bond that is the linchpin of its yield curve control policy, sending yields soaring above target.

The yield on the country's April 2024 bond jumped above 0.5%, well above the policy target of 0.1%, with interest rate futures pricing in a rate hike as soon as May.

Investors also suspect the U.S. Federal Reserve could move faster towards rate hikes, with Fed funds rate futures pricing in two rate hikes by end-2022.

The Fed is expected to announce tapering of its bond purchase at its policy meeting next week.

The two-year U.S. Treasuries yield rose as high as 0.534% . At the start of October, it was around 0.26%.

In contrast, longer-dated yields fell in part because a tighter monetary policy is likely to tame inflation and could derail the economic recovery down the road.

The 10-year U.S. notes yields dropped to 1.554% , compared with a five-month peak of 1.705% touched a week ago.

"Long-dated yields are falling because of concerns that tighter monetary policies will restrain the economy in the longer run," said Naokazu Koshimizu, senior rates strategist at Nomura Securities.

Meanwhile, Btitish government bond yields slid after the government cut its borrowing forecasts by more than expected.

The 10-year Gilt yield fell 12.8 basis points on Wednesday, its biggest decline since March 2020, to 0.982%.

In foreign exchange markets, the Canadian dollar held firm at C$1.2362 per dollar following the BoC's surprise move.

The yen showed limited response to the Bank of Japan's decision to keep its policy on hold and stood at 113.55 per dollar, up 0.2%.

The euro was steady at $1.1600 ahead of the European Central Bank's policy announcement later in the day.

Oil prices fell after official figures showed a surprise jump in U.S. inventories of crude.

Brent fell 1.8% to $83.07 per barrel, off Monday's seven-year high of $86.70. U.S. crude fetched $81.25 per barrel , down 1.7% and off a seven-year high of $85.41 hit on Monday.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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