* Euro firm on safe-haven flow, expectation of inflation
* Wall St pulled down by Nasdaq; Pfizer shares lead
* Oil slips below $110, near 7-week highs on Ukraine
(Adds close of European bond, stock markets)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, April 28 A slide in U.S. growth stocks
led global equity markets to retreat on Monday from early gains
on merger speculation driven by a bid for AstraZeneca, while
crude oil prices fell on increased U.S. sanctions against Russia
over the Ukraine crisis.
Nasdaq stocks shed nearly 1 percent in afternoon trading as
investors dumped technology shares regardless of whether their
first-quarter results were seen as good or not.
Facebook Inc fell 3.82 percent to $55.50, the biggest
drag on the Nasdaq composite index. Amazon.com Inc fell
4.1 percent to $291.5, while Google Inc fell 2.1
percent to $505.44.
"The rest of the market caught up with what's going on in
the Nasdaq," said Michael James, managing director of equity
trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. "What's causing
it? I think it's just momentum feeding on itself. Downward price
action is feeding on itself and it's bringing out more sellers."
MSCI's measure of global equity markets, the all-country
world index, fell 0.3 percent. The pan-European
FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.26 percent at 1,336.30,
before Wall Street began to drift lower.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 4.91
points, or 0.03 percent, at 16,356.55. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 6.19 points, or 0.33 percent, at 1,857.21.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 38.23 points, or
0.94 percent, at 4,037.33.
Earlier, shares of Britain's AstraZeneca Plc had
surged after U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc said it made a
58.8 billion pound ($98.9 billion) bid for it, after having two
AstraZeneca rallied 14.4 percent in London, while
Pfizer rose 2.92 percent on Wall Street, the biggest gainer in
the Dow Industrials and second-biggest by percentage in the
benchmark S&P 500 index.
In Germany, shares of Bayer rose 4 percent,
lifted by a wave of pharmaceuticals sector merger speculation.
Brent crude oil slipped below $110 a barrel. U.S. President
Barack Obama announced a third round of sanctions against
Russian individuals and companies aimed at stopping President
Vladimir Putin from fomenting rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
June Brent eased $1.56 at $108.02 a barrel. U.S.
crude for June delivery slips 3 cents to $100.57 a
The euro hit a two-week high against the U.S. dollar, helped
by both safe-haven flows due to the Ukraine crisis and
expectations euro zone inflation will show an increase this
week, lessening the need for looser monetary policy.
"Since the onset of the Ukraine crisis the euro has
benefited. We expect that pattern to continue," said Michael
Woolfolk, global markets strategist at BNY Mellon in New York.
The euro reached a session high $1.3905 before slipping to
$1.3849, up 0.13 percent.
Euro support also came from a spike in overnight euro zone
rates as surplus cash in the banking system decreased,
with banks repaying cheaper loans taken earlier from the central
The dollar rose 0.20 percent to 102.35 yen.
U.S. Treasury prices fell as investors embraced riskier
assets after upbeat housing numbers that strengthened the view
that the world's largest economy was steadily recovering.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell
4/32 in price to yield 2.6804 percent.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Sujata Rao
in London; Editing by Dan Grebler)