NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global equity markets slid on Thursday as investors waited for first-quarter earnings reports, while Treasury yields rose after strong U.S. data and a six-month extension of a deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.
The dollar index rose as worries about the world’s largest economy eased after U.S. data showed March producer prices increased by the most in five months and weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest since 1969.
The data followed a decision by EU leaders to push the Brexit deadline to Oct. 31 so that Britain would not crash out of the bloc on Friday without a treaty - though it offered scant clarity on when, how or if departure will happen.
Regional and country indexes in Europe rose but Wall Street retreated as investors awaited the first-quarter U.S. earnings season, which starts in earnest on Friday. Profit estimates have dropped steadily in the last six months, with earnings by S&P 500 companies expected to fall 2.5% and mark the first year-on-year decline since 2016, according to Refinitiv data.
“The big elephant out there is earnings. Street estimates are for a year-over-year decline despite higher revenue and that’s driven by a handful of large companies that are heavily weighted, so it could be a bit deceiving,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.
“Often the market will just wait it out when we start to get close to earnings.”
MSCI’s gauge of stock market performance in 47 countries shed 0.17%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.11%. France’s CAC 040, Germany’s DAX and Italy’s MIB all rose.
European airline stocks rose, with the travel and leisure index rising 1.3%, after the Brexit extension. Irish stocks, which are especially sensitive to a potential hard Brexit, tacked on 0.6%.
Trading volume on Wall Street was the lowest so far in 2019.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14.11 points, or 0.05%, to 26,143.05. The S&P 500 gained 0.11 point, or 0.00%, to 2,888.32 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 16.89 points, or 0.21%, to 7,947.36.
In currency trading, the dollar index rose 0.23%, with the euro down 0.14% to $1.1257.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.57% versus the greenback at 111.66 per dollar. Sterling fell 0.25% to $1.3056, suggesting fears remain about Brexit.
Germany’s 10-year bond yield edged up toward 0.0% after the Brexit announcement, while a signal from the European Central Bank that it will fight low economic growth and inflation boosted peripheral debt.
Germany’s 10-year bond yield was up 0.02 percentage point at negative 0.01%.
U.S. Treasury benchmark 10-year notes last fell 6/32 in price to yield 2.5006%.
Oil prices fell more than 1% after sources said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries may raise output from July if Venezuelan and Iranian supplies fall further and prices keep rallying.
U.S. crude fell $1.03 to settle at $63.58 per barrel. Brent settled down 90 cents at $70.83. [O/R]
Gold prices fell more than 1%, slipping below the key $1,300 level, as robust economic data from the United States boosted the dollar, taking the sheen off the safe-haven metal.
U.S. gold futures settled 1.6% lower at $1,293.3 an ounce.
Additional reporting by Kate Duguid and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Tom Wilson in London; editing by Dan Grebler and Phil Berlowitz
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