The U.S. Federal Reserve is sticking with the mantra that inflation is transitory and there's no rush to tighten policy but some others are feeling uneasy.
On Thursday, Michael Saunders became the second Bank of England rate setter in two days to signal it may be time to consider reining in stimulus as inflation ramps up. Earlier this week central banks in Canada and New Zealand took steps towards unwinding post-crisis stimulus.
No surprise then that two-year gilt yields shot up 6 basis points after Thursday's BoE comments in the biggest one-day jump since February. In contrast, U.S. bond yields continue to be pinned down by Fed chief Jerome Powell's dovish rhetoric.
But another run of strong data could test the Fed's resolve too; figures due later this session are expected to see U.S. June retail sales rose in June after declining in May.
In the meantime, equity markets are struggling to hold their nerve in the face of a continued surge in coronavirus infections globally.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei share average fell below the psychologically key 28,000 mark and MSCI's Asia stock index, excluding Japan, was last down 0.3%.
European and U.S. stock futures were mixed.
The dollar was headed for its best weekly gain in about a month, supported by investors' drift toward safety.
Oil prices were a touch weaker, staying under pressure after a compromise deal between leading OPEC producers and a surprisingly poor weekly reading on U.S. fuel demand. [O/R]
Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Friday:
- BOJ cuts growth forecast, unveils climate scheme plan
- Ericsson Q2 earnings below market estimates; Burberry reports "excellent start" to its new year, with full-price sales accelerating; Puma raises 2021 outlook nASN001G8Y]
- German car registrations
- U.S. bond sales data
- Federal Reserve events: New York Fed President John Williams speaks
- U.S. earnings: State Street, Honeywell, General Electric
- European earnings: Sandvik, Adtech, Husquarna, Handelsbanken, Swedbank, Richemont trading statement,
-Fitch to review Greek rating
Graphic: Bond yields, UK, US -
(Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Sujata Rao)