* ECB's Draghi says will monitor impact of rising euro
* Euro drops sharply versus dollar, yen
* U.S., European shares fall, Irish yields at multi-year
By Wanfeng Zhou
Feb 7 Major stock markets edged lower on
Thursday and the euro hit a near two-week low against the dollar
after the European Central Bank's chief said policymakers will
monitor the impact of a rising currency and cited downside risks
to the bloc's economy.
On Wall Street, shares came under pressure, with traders
citing technical factors and the less-upbeat comments on the
economy from ECB President Mario Draghi. U.S. stocks have been
on an uptrend so far this year, with the S&P 500 up more than 5
U.S. Treasury prices rose as the retreat in stocks lifted
safe-haven demand. Irish government debt rallied, with yields
falling to their lowest since early 2007 after Dublin reached a
deal that will reduce its borrowing costs.
The ECB left its main interest rate at 0.75 percent. In a
post-meeting press conference, Draghi said the exchange rate was
not a policy target but is important for growth and price
He also said risks to the economy were on the downside and
that economic weakness in the euro zone will likely prevail in
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 44.69
points, or 0.32 percent, to 13,941.83. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index fell 4.05 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,508.07. The
Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 10.90 points, or 0.34
percent, to 3,157.58.
"Whether (Draghi's comments) ignite renewed concerns about
the euro debt struggles and Europe in general is yet to be seen,
but the market is looking for any reason to take a profit," said
Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at LEK Securities in
"It is just consolidating near multi-year highs, taking a
respite, before we advance higher."
Housing and retail stocks were the day's biggest decliners.
The housing sector index was off 1.5 percent and the S&P
housing index was off 0.9 percent.
Several U.S. retailers reported mixed January sales results,
as consumers faced a hit to their take-home pay from higher
The pan-European FTSEurofirst slipped 0.3 percent to
1,148.28, while MSCI's all-country world equity index
was down 0.5 percent at 353.61.
The euro was last at $1.3399, down 0.9 percent on the day
, with the session low at $1.3369, the weakest since Jan.
25. Against the yen, the euro fell 1.1 percent to 125.23 yen
, with the session low at 124.48 yen.
"Clearly (Draghi) does not want to see the euro go much
higher," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director at BK Asset
Management in New York. "There is massive pressure from the
French. He is signaling displeasure that it ran up so much."
Before Thursday's declines, the euro had risen more than 2
percent against the greenback so far this year and over 10
percent versus the yen.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up
5/32, the yield at 1.9443 percent.
The October 2020 Irish bond yield fell as low as
3.955 percent, the lowest in an equivalent Irish benchmark bond
since early 2007, before the subprime crisis started, according
to Reuters data.
Ireland struck a long-awaited deal on Thursday with the ECB
to ease the burden of debts it took on to rescue its banking
system in a way that will cut its budget deficit and borrowing
needs and put it on track to end its reliance on EU-IMF loans
Spanish bond yields also fell after healthy
demand at a sale of Spanish debt, though political uncertainty
over a corruption scandal forced the country to pay more to
In commodities trading, Brent crude rose 39 cents to
$117.12 a barrel. U.S. crude fell 70 cents to $95.92 a
Gold fell to a session low of $1,662.80 an ounce
immediately after Draghi's comments before recouping some losses
to last trade around $1,672, slightly down on the day.