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Wall Street edges down as investors watch bond yields and stimulus

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Wall Street edges down as investors watch bond yields and stimulus 1

By Suzanne Barlyn

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equity markets were little changed on Tuesday and Wall Street opened slightly lower as investors paused to gauge whether a bond yield jump had run its course, while they monitored progress on the next U.S. fiscal stimulus.

The subdued opening followed a nearly flat close in Europe and slipping shares in Asia.

Investors are in a wait-and-see mode because of a lull in big market-moving events, said Tim Murray, a T. Rowe Price capital markets strategist.

“The news is trickling at this point,” said Murray, noting that investors are also bracing for possible market surprises related to COVID vaccines and variants.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 91.89 points, or 0.29%, to 31,443.62, the S&P 500 lost 21.45 points, or 0.55%, to 3,880.37 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 125.55 points, or 0.92%, to 13,463.28.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.36% while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.30%.

The European Central Bank should expand bond purchases or even increase the quota earmarked for them if needed to keep yields down, ECB board member Fabio Panetta said on Tuesday, after weeks of steady increases in borrowing costs.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.16%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.19% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.86%.

Investors will scrutinize speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve officials in coming days for messaging on trends in yields, starting with Lael Brainard at 1 p.m. ET/1800 GMT on Tuesday.

U.S. stocks [.N] rallied on Monday, with the S&P 500 posting its best day in nearly nine months, as bond markets calmed after a month-long selloff.

A Treasuries selloff last week pushed the 10-year Treasury yield to a one-year high of 1.614%. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 8/32 in price to yield 1.4205%, from 1.446% late on Monday.

The dollar was up for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday after the spike in bond yields challenged the market consensus for dollar weakness in 2021. But riskier currencies rose as bond markets calmed and stocks recovered.

The dollar index fell 0.158%, with the euro up 0.17% to $1.2068.

Bitcoin fell 0.73% to $48,525.92 after rising nearly 7% on Monday.

Shares in mainland China and Hong Kong fell overnight after a top regulatory official expressed concerns about the risk of bubbles bursting in foreign markets.

“Financial markets are trading at high levels in Europe, the U.S. and other developed countries, which runs counter to the real economy,” Guo Shuqing, head of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, told a news conference.

Analysts said the market pause was to be expected after last week’s moves in bonds.

Spot gold added added 0.2% to $1,726.96 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.12% to $1,720.50 an ounce.

Oil prices largely shrugged off expectations that OPEC would agree to raise oil supplies at a meeting this week.

The global oil market is rebalancing after damage to demand wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic was met with curbs on output by OPEC producers, the group’s president said on Tuesday.

“Crude prices are relatively stable… we see a certain balance between demand and supply,” OPEC President Diamantino Azevedo told Reuters in an interview.

U.S. crude recently rose 0.36% to $60.86 per barrel and Brent was at $63.84, up 0.24% on the day.

(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Dan Grebler)

 

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