Stocks rally eases after highs; dollar heads lower

The global equities rally that pushed stocks to record highs eased in Asia as some investors cautioned that gains had gone too far. The dollar snapped a two-day advance as Treasury yields declined.

Indexes advanced in Tokyo and Sydney after U.S. benchmarks closed at all-time highs on Tuesdayalong with the MSCI All-Country World Index. European equity-index futures inched lower. Apple Inc. suppliers in Asia dropped amid speculation traders were underwhelmed by the company’s new products. New York-traded oil maintained gains as OPEC and its allies discuss an extension of output curbs. The pound extended its advance triggered by a bigger-than-forecast jump in inflation ahead of a central bank policy meeting.

Record stock prices are provoking concern in some corners of the market. The number of investors seeking protection from a possible plunge has surged and Leon Cooperman, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Omega Advisors, says a correction could start “very soon.” A batch of Chinese economic indicators due Thursday is expected to signal improving consumption and factory output along with some softening in investment, while U.S. prices data could impact the timing of the next Federal Reserve interest-rate hike.

Meanwhile, geopolitical concerns keep waxing and waning. North Korea said it will accelerate its plans to acquire a nuclear weapon that can strike the U.S. homeland in its first response to fresh United Nations sanctions. Earlier, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned the U.S. may impose additional sanctions on China — potentially cutting off access to the U.S. financial system — if it doesn’t follow through on the new UN restrictions. - Bloomberg

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