Equities' slide sends bonds, gold price higher, dents greenback

October 27, 2018

New York (Oct 27)  Stock markets around the world fell on Friday on track for the longest weekly losing streak since 2013 while U.S. Treasury prices rose along with demand for safer bets as better than expected U.S. economic data did little to assuage anxiety over disappointing corporate profits and trade wars.

Wall Street fell after earnings reports from Amazon.com and Alphabet rekindled a rush to dump technology and high-growth stocks, but indexes were off earlier lows.

European and Asian stocks had led the way lower. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.77 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.95 percent.

The global index was around 14 percent below its record closing high reached on Jan. 26 and was set for its fifth straight week of losses, which has not happened since May 2013.

Markets were given some support from data that showed third-quarter U.S. economic growth slowing less than expected as a tariff-related drop in soybean exports was partially offset by the strongest consumer spending in nearly four years.

While indexes pared their losses as the session wore on, investors still worried about continued volatility, particularly ahead of the Nov. 6 U.S. midterm congressional elections.

    “If you’re not a short-term buyer why not wait,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

U.S. Treasury yields initially rose after the data, but stock market volatility caused them to reverse course and fall to a three-week low of 3.074 percent as stocks dropped.

“Yields are down today not because of the GDP report but because of stock market volatility. It’s a global flight to safety,” Collin Martin, fixed income director at the Schwab Center for financial research, in New York.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 14/32 in price to yield 3.0849 percent, from 3.136 percent late on Thursday.

The U.S. dollar slid alongside stocks after rising to a two-month high in morning trade after the GDP data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 201.24 points, or 0.81 percent, to 24,783.31, the S&P 500 lost 36.28 points, or 1.34 percent, to 2,669.29 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 117.38 points, or 1.6 percent, to 7,200.95.

The dollar index fell 0.3 percent, with the euro up 0.27 percent to $1.1405.

“People are still worried about the U.S. earnings season,” said Thierry Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Group.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.41 percent versus the greenback at 111.95 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2829, up 0.11 percent on the day.

Doubt grew about whether the UK and the European Union can clinch a Brexit deal. Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported on Friday that Brexit talks were on hold because Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet was not close enough to agreement on how to proceed.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped one percent, hitting its lowest level since February 2017.

Bear markets - a price drop of 20 percent or more from recent peaks - have increased across indexes and individual stocks since the start of this year.

Oil prices were headed for a third weekly loss after Saudi Arabia warned of oversupply and the slump in stock markets and concern about trade clouded the outlook for fuel demand.

U.S. crude rose 0.46 percent to $67.64 per barrel and Brent was last up 0.4 percent to $77.22 on the day.

Spot gold added 0.2 percent to $1,233.88 an ounce.


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