* Global stock index edges down with U.S. equities
* Ukraine, China slowdown and copper rout sap risk appetite
* Russian shares slide to lowest in over 4 years
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, March 13 World stock indexes edged
lower on Thursday on lingering concerns over China's economy and
tensions in Ukraine, while the euro hit a new 2-1/2-year high
against the dollar.
Copper resumed its decline, a day after it hit a four-year
low at $6,376.25 per tonne on worries about slowing growth in
U.S. stocks dipped in early trading after opening slightly
higher on better-than-expected data on retail sales and the
China's industrial output growth came in below forecasts for
the combined January/February period, with retail sales also
weaker than expected, stoking worries that growth could slow as
Beijing pushes for economic reforms.
Tensions in Ukraine also kept investors on edge. Germany's
Angela Merkel warned Moscow it risked "massive" political and
economic damage if it refused to change course on Ukraine,
saying Western leaders were ready to impose sanctions on Russia
"These hot spots are still of concern to people, the Ukraine
and China being wobbly," said Stephen Massocca, managing
director, at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell
21.32 points or 0.13 percent, to 16,318.76, the S&P 500
lost 2.79 points or 0.15 percent, to 1,865.41 and the Nasdaq
Composite dropped 13.315 points or 0.31 percent, to
The MSCI global stock market index was down
0.1 percent, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300
was down 0.4 percent.
Russia's RTS stock index fell 1.2 percent to its
lowest point in over four years, while five-year credit default
swaps rose 14 basis points to their highest since June 2012.
The euro reached $1.3967, just under psychological
resistance at $1.40, and the euro was last up 0.4 percent on the
The euro zone economy seems to be picking up steam and
investors are betting the European Central Bank will not ease
policy further to counter deflation risks, even though ECB
policymaker Benoit Coeure reiterated the bank's readiness to act
if real interest rates did not fall.
"The policy messages and data support the euro and we think
that will allow it to continue to push higher from here," Ian
Stannard, a strategist at Morgan Stanley in London, said.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) traded
at $6,461 a tonne in official rings, down 0.7 percent from a
close of $6,505 on Wednesday. Prices hit a 44-month low of
$6,376.25 in intraday trade on Wednesday before recovering at
the close to post their first daily gain since Friday.
After a tumble in copper of around 7.5 percent so far this
month, investors are worried about a possible unravelling of
Chinese loan deals using the metal - whose many industrial uses
make it sensitive to global economic health - as collateral.
"The China economy is slowing quite sharply, in our view ...
(although) the lack of inflation and slowing growth does open
the door for policy easing," Gerard Lane, equity strategist at
Shore Capital, said in a note.
Geopolitical tensions supported the U.S. bond market. The
benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note last traded
with a yield of 2.716 percent, marking a slight decline from
late Wednesday, when the yield was at 2.726 percent. Bond yields
move inversely to their prices.
The European benchmark Brent crude oil was down 26
cents at $107.76 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were
up 15 cents at $98.14.