Stocks fell and bonds ticked higher as concern over economic growth and trade disputes sent global equity markets toward their first weekly loss since December. Oil and most industrial metals dropped, while the yen nudged higher.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was dragged lower for a second day by automakers and technology shares. Stocks tumbled in much of Asia along with U.S. equity futures following news that President Donald Trump is unlikely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline for more tariffs, re-igniting fears over further protectionist measures. Japanese shares led declines in Asia, and Hong Kong stocks pared an early slide as trading resumed after a three-day holiday. China’s markets remain shut for Lunar New Year.
Investors are calling for a time-out on the risk rally that began around Christmas as central banks and governments from Brussels to Sydney cut growth forecasts. The European Commission made sweeping downward revisions to most of the region’s major economies Thursday and the Bank of England said it expected the U.K. economy to grow at its slowest pace in a decade. The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its growth and inflation forecasts Friday.
“Many of the central banks are reacting to the fact that the global economic situation has worsened,” Komal Sri-Kumar, founder and president at Sri-Kumar Global Strategies Inc., told Bloomberg TV from Los Angeles.
Australia’s dollar dropped to a five-week low after its central bank’s announcement, which followed a declaration by its governor earlier in the week of a shift to a neutral policy stance.
Elsewhere, WTI crude oil fell toward $52 a barrel in New York while gold erased an earlier gain. Iron ore futures topped $90 a ton to hit the highest level since 2014 on concern that the increasingly severe crisis at top producer Vale SA will reduce global supplies.
These are the main moves in markets:
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1 percent as of 8:09 a.m. London time.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.4 percent.
- The MSCI World Index of developed countries fell 0.2 percent to the lowest in more than a week.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 1 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose less than 0.05 percent with its seventh straight advance.
- The euro fell less than 0.05 percent to $1.1336.
- The British pound dipped 0.1 percent to $1.2937.
- The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index fell less than 0.05 percent, reaching the lowest in more than a week.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 2.65 percent, the lowest in more than a week.
- Germany’s 10-year yield fell less than one basis point to 0.11 percent.
- Italy’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 2.939 percent.
- Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,309.17 an ounce.
- West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 0.6 percent to $52.31 a barrel, the lowest in more than a week.
- Natural gas increased 1.5 percent to $2.59 per mmbtu, the biggest climb in two weeks.
- LME copper fell less than 0.05 percent to $6,243.50 per metric ton.
— With assistance by Shery Ahn, and Cormac Mullen
- Stocks fall as Nasdaq ends 8-day winning streak
- Stocks fall as Dow has worst month since May 2012
- Stocks fall, gold rises as Wall Street gets jitters about world economy
- Apple stocks rise, Samsung stocks fall on patent-infringement ruling
- Stocks fall as shutdown fears escalate
- Tech stocks get 'hit the hardest' as markets fall
- Apple stock falls after announcements
- New York Stock Exchange resumes trading after halt over technical glitch
- Stocks fall for second straight day on China worries, plunging oil prices
- U.S. stocks fall for second day over China worries