WASHINGTON: The S&P 500 Index rose to a record as gains in oil and copper drove a gauge of commodities to a six-month high. Treasuries fell after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested gradual rate increases are warranted despite soft inflation. The pound broke a five-day winning streak on speculation that Brexit talks could be headed for a breakdown. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index declined and the euro weakened amid the stand-off over independence for Catalonia. The dollar extended gains after people familiar with the matter said Stanford University economist John Taylor, a candidate to be the next Fed chairman, made a favorable impression on President Donald Trump after an interview.
WTI crude rose to a two-week high on concern tensions between Iraqi forces and Kurds will disrupt supplies, while copper surged to the highest since July 2014. Yellen said on Sunday her “best guess” is consumer prices will soon accelerate after a period of surprising softness, a forecast echoed by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. A host of Fed speakers and the publication of the Beige Book this week may provide further clues about the U.S. policy path. In Spain, investors are awaiting the next move in a crisis that has weighed on Spanish assets and may also roil the euro. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont defended his region’s claim to independence as the Spanish government signaled it will move ahead with the process of suspending self-rule this week. Puigdemont has until Thursday morning to back down, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.