| LONDON, April 7
LONDON, April 7 World stocks slipped from last
week's six-year high on Monday on concerns about technology
shares, while speculation the European Central Bank will ease
policy further pushed down European bond yields.
The Nasdaq suffered its biggest decline since February on
Friday as high-flying and high-growth shares mostly in the tech
and biotech sectors extended their recent sell-off, with
sentiment spilling into Asia.
The pull-back came after the Dow and S&P 500 indexes hit
record highs after March U.S. jobs data soothed concerns about
the health of the economic recovery there but eased fears of an
early interest rate hike.
"This could be the start of a 'profit taking' consolidation
period. People should buy only when the pull-back is done, while
it could also be time to hedge the portfolios," said Gerard
Sagnier, analyst at brokerage Aurel BGC in Paris.
The MSCI world equity index fell a third of
a percent, having hit levels not seen since late 2007 on Friday.
The Nikkei fell 1.6 percent, led lower by index
heavyweight Softbank which fell over 4 percent in brisk
SoftBank shares have become very sensitive to moves in U.S.
tech stocks ahead of Alibaba's IPO, which is expected to become
one of the largest offerings in history. SoftBank holds around a
37 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant.
European stocks were down around 1 percent
while emerging stocks outperformed with a decline of
just 0.15 percent following three straight weeks of gains.
The dollar was steady against a basket of six major
currencies, while the euro was under pressure from
expectations the ECB may undertake a programme of asset
purchases this year to support the economy.
Such speculation boosted German and Italian
bond futures, following a rally on Friday after a
German newspaper said the ECB had modelled the effects of buying
a trillion euros of assets to ward off deflation.
That followed comments by ECB President Mario Draghi that
policymakers were unanimous that asset purchases, known as
quantitative easing or QE, might be needed to tackle
persistently low inflation.
"At the moment periphery, especially now we have got this QE
talk, is massively supported. That's the most obvious trade in
town," a trader said.
U.S. crude oil fell 0.6 percent to $100.50 a barrel
after worries about supply disruption eased as Libyan rebels
occupying four eastern oil ports agreed to gradually end their
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield stood at 2.720
percent, having fallen on Friday after the jobs report eased
concerns about an early interest rate hike.
Short- and medium-term Treasuries yields had surged after
Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested on March 19 that the central
bank could raise interest rates earlier than expected. Yellen
was more dovish in a speech on March 31, when she defended the
Fed's supportive measures.
Short- and medium-dated Treasuries notes are viewed as most
vulnerable to a hike in overnight interest rates, which are
currently near zero.
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson and Emelia
Sithole-Matarise; Editing by Catherine Evans)