Global Stocks Trade Flat, as U.S. Inflation Threat Frightens Markets

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World Stock markets were routed around the globe on Monday, February 5, with European indexes opening lower and bond yields rising as resurgent U.S. inflation raised the possibility central banks would tighten policy more aggressively than had been expected.

Europe’s benchmark Stoxx 600 dropped 1 percent, its sixth consecutive day of losses totaling 4.1 percent – the biggest decline since the United Kingdom voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union.

All major indexes in Europe fell: the UK’s FTSE 100 .FTSE dropped 1 percent, France’s CAC 40 .FCHI 0.8 percent and Germany’s DAX .GDAXI 0.6 percent.

Earlier, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS shed as much as 2 percent, its largest daily drop since late 2016. It was last down 1.5 percent.

Friday’s U.S. payrolls report showed wages growing at their fastest pace in more than eight years, fuelling expectations for both inflation and interest rates would rise more than previously forecast. That sparked a global sell-off that continued on Monday .

Futures markets <0#FF:> priced in the risk of three, or even more, rate rises by the Federal Reserve this year.

“This added fuel to a bond market sell-off, pushing US 10 year Treasury bond yields closer to the magic 3 percent level, which will only increase borrowing costs for corporates following years of cheap financing, thus ushering equities further from recent highs,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets

Bond yields, which move inversely to bond prices, rose to multi-year highs across the globe.

Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury debt US10YT=RR hit a four-year high of 2.885 percent, having jumped almost 7 basis points on Friday. They were last trading at 2.849 percent.

German 10-year yields, the benchmark in Europe, rose to 0.774 percent DE10YT=RR, their highest since September 2015. German 30-year yields rose to two-year highs at 1.429 percent DE30YT=RR.

Faster rate rises by the Fed would hurt emerging markets and commodity currencies, said Deutsche Bank macro strategist Alan Ruskin.

The Norwegian crown NOK=, a key commodity currency, was one of the biggest losers in Europe on Monday, down 0.3 percent against the U.S. dollar.

In emerging markets, the South African rand ZAR= fell 0.7 percent and the Chinese yuan and Polish zloty PLN= 0.2 percent.

Rising U.S. yields gave the dollar some support in early Asian trade, but it lost ground later in the session.



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