April 24, 2018 / 6:47 PM / 3 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks drop as U.S. 10-year yields top 3 percent

* Oil lower after Brent tops $75 a barrel mark

* U.S. 10-year note yield crosses 3 percent

* Caterpillar slumps on higher material cost warning (Updates with European market close)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters) - A gauge of world stocks tumbled on Tuesday, relinquishing early gains after U.S. bond yields topped the 3 percent threshold for the first time in four years, while oil prices stretched above the $75 per barrel mark.

Equities in Europe hit session lows before closing near the unchanged mark and U.S. stocks retreated after the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield crossed the 3 percent mark to a high of 3.003 percent, its highest since January 2014. In addition, the two-year yield touched 2.5 percent for the first time since September 2008.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.9846 percent, from 2.973 percent late on Monday.

The move higher in yields sapped the appetite for stocks, which had been higher on the back of a strong batch of earnings from names such as Verizon and Caterpillar. Rising bond yields provide more competition for stocks, especially those with high dividend yields.

“It’s kind of one of those things where we all expected it, we talked about it, then it happens and the market is surprised by it,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

“This stuff has been building the last few days, some of the reaction happened beforehand in some of the other markets and now it is catching up to stocks.”

The bond market sell-off since late last week stemmed from inflation worries caused by rising commodity prices and growing Treasury debt supply, as well as bets the Federal Reserve would further raise key borrowing costs, analysts said.

Higher commodity prices also pose a risk for equities, with Caterpillar shares reversing course and last trading down 6.5 percent after forecasting increases in material expenditures due to rising steel prices.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.03 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.81 percent.

MSCI’s index is on track for its fourth straight decline, its longest losing streak in a month.

Wall Street was also weighed down by a 5 percent drop in Google parent Alphabet as strong growth in ad sales on search and YouTube were not enough to offset a surge in costs.

Google kicked off a big week for tech sector earnings, with results expected from 23 names in the group including Facebook and Microsoft.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 528.79 points, or 2.16 percent, to 23,919.9, the S&P 500 lost 44.74 points, or 1.68 percent, to 2,625.55 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 140.38 points, or 1.97 percent, to 6,988.23.

U.S. earnings thus far have gotten off to the strong start that was widely anticipated, with the expected growth rate for the quarter currently at 21.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Of the 118 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported through Tuesday morning, 77.1 percent have topped expectations.

After climbing above $75 a barrel to their highest since November 2014, Brent crude oil prices, the global benchmark, and U.S. crude prices were lower as concerns over the possibility that the United States might reinstate sanctions against Iran faded.

U.S. crude fell 1.27 percent to $67.77 per barrel and Brent was last at $73.93, down 1.04 percent.

Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak Editing by Frances Kerry and James Dalgleish

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