A more modest yearend schedule of Treasury debt sales than many feared helped bonds rally overnight while the Bank of Japan closed out a scary October for world markets on Tuesday with another modest tightening tweak.
A hectic Halloween of policy meetings, big macro reports and another slew of company earnings is seeing most world markets shave off the sharpest edges of a rough month, just as the Federal Reserve kicks off its latest two-day gathering.
But relief in Treasuries, the villain of the piece for several weeks, is probably the most significant marker for the remainder of the year.
On Monday, the U.S. Treasury said it expects to borrow $776 billion in the fourth quarter of the year, less than $852 billion it has previously indicated and below Wall St forecasts.
Officials said the reduced tally was down to an increased revenue estimate and that was mainly because tax payments from California and other states that had been previously deferred due to natural disasters were now flowing to Treasury coffers.
Given that the announcement in July of third-quarter borrowing of more than trillion dollars was largely responsible for the bond market selloff since, the more benign forecast for the final three months dragged 10-year benchmark yields back further from bruising 16-year peaks above 5%.
With hopes the resurfaced risk premium for holding long-term debt may ease as a result, 10-year yields were as low as 4.82% on Tuesday - some 20 basis points off recent highs.
Even though the Bank of Japan further loosened its grip on long-term interest rates on Tuesday by re-defining 1.0% as a loose "upper bound" rather than a rigid cap, markets took some solace it wasn't more draconian. Even though 10-year Japanese government yields jumped as much as 7bps to 0.96%, the yen weakened again sharply past 150 per dollar and the Nikkei 225 index of leading stocks rose.
And there were further soothing noises for world bonds, even if not for global growth, from surprisingly weak Chinese business surveys for October. Chinese stocks underperformed and closed lower yet again.
Adding to the mix on Monday was a retreat in crude oil prices to their lowest since the October 7 attacks on Israel, as Israel's land invasion into Gaza advanced slowly and pressure to up stuttering humanitarian aid to the besieged citizens there increased.
Crude prices steadied around $83 per barrel on Tuesday, with market speculation about a rise in U.S. shale oil output circulating following recent major acquisitions by Big Oil firms.
In Europe, falling energy stocks bucked a more positive wider market due to a 4.2% fall in BP after third-quarter earnings missed analysts' forecasts.
Overall, the picture pointed to another positive day for Wall Street stocks, with futures marginally positive ahead of the open as the Fed meeting gets underway. The S&P500 rebounded after an awful month on Monday to clock its best day's gain since August - but it remains on course to record its third straight month of losses since 2020.
The U.S. central bank is expected to leave policy rates unchanged again on Wednesday as it assess the final-quarter trajectory of inflation and the economy after a bumper Q3.
With the October jobs report due Friday, the latest consumer confidence reading for this month tops the economic diary on Tuesday in the meantime. The likes of pharma giant Pfizer and construction bellwether Caterpillar are on a heavy earnings slate.
In other positive news, General Motors and the United Auto Workers struck a tentative deal late on Monday, ending the union's unprecedented six-week campaign of coordinated strikes that won record pay increases for workers at the Detroit Three automakers.
Key developments that should provide more direction to U.S. markets later on Tuesday:
* U.S. Oct consumer confidence, Oct Chicago business survey, Oct Dallas Fed service sector survey, Q3 employment costs, Aug house prices
* Federal Reserve starts 2-day policy meeting
* U.S. corporate earnings: Pfizer, Caterpillar, AMD, Amcor, Amgen, Marathon, MSCI, Caesars, Global Payments, Sysco, Eaton, Franklin Resources, Allegion, Assurant, AMETEK, Equity Residential, GE Healthcare, First Solar, Incyte, Paycom, Match, Bio-Techne, WEC Energy, Hubbell, Echolab, Zebra, ONEOK, Xylem
* U.S. Treasury auctions 12-month bills
(By Mike Dolan, editing by Christina Fincher, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reutersMikeD)