* U.S. stock index hit record highs at open, then pares gains
* U.S. dollar dropped to two-week low (Updates with European stocks close)
NEW YORK, Feb 10 (Reuters) - MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was slightly higher on Wednesday and on track for an eighth day of gains, while U.S. Treasury yields tumbled as U.S. data showed inflation stayed benign in January.
Major U.S. stock indexes hit record highs at the opening before losing steam. The S&P 500 was nearly flat in afternoon New York trading, with investors awaiting a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
Bets on more fiscal aid have powered Wall Street’s main indexes to a series of all-time peaks recently, with investors moving into sectors such as energy, banks and industrials that are poised to benefit from a recovering economy.
President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he agreed with a proposal by Democratic lawmakers that would send $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans earning up to $75,000 and households making up to $150,000.
Executives from Robinhood, Melvin Capital and Citadel Securities are expected to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives panel at a Feb. 18 hearing exploring trading turmoil in GameStop Corp and other stocks, according to a Reuters report citing two sources familiar with the matter.
Interest from retail investors appeared to lift cannabis stocks broadly higher on Wednesday, signaling that the recent trading frenzy behind Reddit favorites such as GameStop is shifting to other companies. Shares of Tilray jumped 36%.
Earnings contributed to earlier optimism in equities markets, with French bank Societe Generale among those beating fourth-quarter profit expectations.
Twitter Inc shares were up 8.7%, a day after the company beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly sales and profit and followed its social media peers to forecast a strong start to 2021 as ad spending rebounds from a rock bottom.
“Although visibility isn’t great into the future, the analysts are extrapolating that into higher earnings throughout this year than may be what folks had feared six months ago,” said Eric Marshall, portfolio manager and head of research at Hodges Capital Management in Dallas.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44.25 points, or 0.14%, to 31,420.08, the S&P 500 lost 2.17 points, or 0.06%, to 3,909.06 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 21.22 points, or 0.15%, to 13,986.48.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.23% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.21%.
Bitcoin, meanwhile, consolidated recent gains on Wednesday, trading 3.7% lower at $44,799. It hit a new high of $48,216 on Tuesday following Tesla’s disclosure of a $1.5 billion investment in the virtual currency.
The dollar was weighed down by U.S. inflation data, while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields also tumbled.
The U.S. data showed that inflation stayed benign in January, disappointing investors betting that price pressures would increase more. The Labor Department said its consumer price index increased 0.3% last month after climbing a revised 0.2% in December.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 1.1379%, from 1.157% late on Tuesday.
The dollar index fell 0.12%, with the euro up 0.12% to $1.2131.
Oil rose, extending its rally for a ninth day, its longest winning streak in two years, supported by producer supply cuts and hopes vaccine rollouts will drive a recovery in demand.
Brent crude was up 30 cents, or 0.5%, at $61.39 after touching a 13-month high of $61.61 earlier in the session. U.S. crude was up 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $58.57, having touched $58.76, also a 13-month high.
Spot gold added 0.3% to $1,842.16 an ounce.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft in London and Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Larry King, Steve Orlofsky, Peter Graff