Business & Financial

Wall Street swings to loss in choppy trading; bond prices rise

A trader reacts as he watches his screens on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York

A trader reacts as he watches his screens on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks swung to a loss on Tuesday after seesawing rapidly between positive and negative territory a day after the Dow and S&P 500 posted their biggest one-day declines in more than six years and stocks overseas extended the rout.

European shares remained lower, while losses for MSCI’s widely tracked 47-country world index broke $4 trillion.

“The choppiness this morning is trying to figure out where we should be. Some of what we saw yesterday suggests we are near at least a short-term low,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

The selloff in stocks that began last week has been built on concerns over higher interest rates and lofty valuations.

Some strategists view it as a healthy pullback after a rapid run-up over the last year and say the improving economic outlook is a positive for stocks overall.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 181.91 points, or 0.75 percent, to 24,163.84, the S&P 500 lost 26.43 points, or 1.00 percent, to 2,622.51 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 55.85 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,911.68.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 2.4 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.9 percent.

Emerging market stocks lost 2.9 percent.

Earlier, Taiwan’s main index lost 5.0 percent, its biggest slump since 2011, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 5.1 percent and Japan’s Nikkei dived 4.7 percent, its worst fall since November 2016, to four-month lows.

U.S. Treasury prices gained as volatile equity markets led investors to seek out lower-risk bonds, though many investors remained nervous after a week-long bond rout sent yields on Monday to four-year highs.

Benchmark 10-year notes were last up 11/32 in price to yield 2.7545 percent, from 2.794 percent late on Monday.

The original trigger for the sell-off was a sharp rise in U.S. bond yields late last week after data showed U.S. wages increasing at the fastest pace since 2009. That raised the alarm about higher inflation and, with it, potentially higher interest rates.

Commodities remained gloomy too, with oil and industrial metals all tumbling as the year’s stellar start for risk assets rapidly soured.

U.S. crude fell 0.53 percent to $63.81 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.05, down 0.84 percent.

Copper lost 1.3 percent to $7,076.00 a tonne.

The dollar rose to its highest in more than a week against a basket of currencies as traders piled back into the greenback amid the rout in stocks.

The dollar index rose 0.16 percent, with the euro down 0.15 percent to $1.2348.

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(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York, Marc Jones and Helen Reid in London and Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by Catherine Evans and James Dalgleish)



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