Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

U.S. Stocks Decline; Bonds Fall, Dollar Rises: Markets Wrap

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U.S. stocks fell in thin trading, while Treasuries also declined as investors grappled with concerns about economic growth and the latest twists in global trade.

The S&P 500 dropped for the first time in four sessions after economic data in both Europe and U.S. came in below expectations, reigniting worries about the world economy. Alphabet slid amid questions about the company’s YouTube platform. Health-care stocks were pulled down as Johnson & Johnson dropped after the company said it received subpoenas from federal prosecutors tied to its talc baby-powder products.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose above 2.68 percent, and the dollar gained against major currencies amid reports signaling uneven progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China as a March 1 deadline for more tariffs approaches. The Aussie dollar dropped on reports China’s Dalian port banned coal imports from Australia. West Texas oil fell below $57 a barrel after an industry report showed American crude stockpiles continue to swell.

U.S. Stocks Decline; Bonds Fall, Dollar Rises: Markets Wrap

“Clearly there’s been a lot weaker data than I think anybody was expecting, including the spate of data that was released today,” said Matt Forester, chief investment officer at BNY Mellon’s Lockwood Advisors. “Strategists are waiting to see if this is just a temporary slowdown in global data. We’ll have to see if this has legs.”

Investors are also closely watching incoming economic numbers to see how they may nudge central bankers that are in a wait-and-see stance. At the same time, the slow but apparently steady progress in trade negotiations between the world’s biggest economies could set up risk assets for disappointment as some analysts see a truce priced into markets, with the MSCI’s global gauge of stocks up about 15 percent since Christmas Day.

In Europe, lenders led shares lower as minutes of the latest ECB meeting showed policy makers setting up their March gathering as a key session to render their verdict on a regional slowdown and whether new long-term bank funding is required.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz speaks on Thursday; ECB President Mario Draghi speaks on Friday, the same day Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe gives parliamentary testimony.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index fell 0.4 percent as of 4 p.m. New York time.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dipped 0.3 percent.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.2 percent for a fourth gain in a row.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index advanced 0.1 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2 percent.
  • The euro was steady at $1.1337.
  • The British pound fell 0.1 percent at $1.3036.
  • The Japanese yen climbed 0.1 percent to 110.70 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced four basis points to 2.68 percent, the highest in a week.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield jumped two basis points to 1.202 percent.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield climbed three basis points to 0.127 percent.

Commodities

  • Gold declined 1.5 percent to $1,326.70 an ounce.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.5 percent to $56.89 a barrel.

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