By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equity markets dipped for a second straight day on Thursday and the dollar and bond yields rose as the Federal Reserve was now seen as less likely to cut U.S. interest rates this year in the wake of comments from Chairman Jerome Powell.
On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P gave up initial gains and turned negative as the energy sector weakened. The Nasdaq showed modest gains, buoyed in part by a climb in Oracle shares after its quarterly results.
As earnings season winds down and with the majority of profit reports in the rear mirror, investor focus will shift back to macro concerns such as economic data and trade issues, including Friday’s U.S. employment report.
Global equities snapped a three-day streak of gains on Wednesday, as Powell’s comments dampened market expectations the Fed would cut rates this year.
“Investors are going to dwell on the Powell comments. He said there is no need to cut rates anytime soon or indicated that next move might not be a rate cut,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 40.74 points, or 0.15%, to 26,389.4, the S&P 500 lost 1.7 points, or 0.06%, to 2,922.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.50 points, or 0.12%, to 8,059.14.
European shares were lower, weighed by basic resources shares as oil prices tumbled more than 2%. In addition, euro zone factory activity data pointed to a third straight month of contraction.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.43% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.27%.
U.S. crude fell 3.54% to $61.35 per barrel and Brent was last at $70.37, down 2.51% on the day.
The dollar index strengthened for a second day against a basket of major currencies, going as high as 97.83. The pound slipped after the Bank of England kept rates on hold while lifting its growth forecast but cautioned that Brexit made economic figures harder to interpret.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said investors were underestimating how much interest rates could rise, even as the British central bank kept borrowing costs on hold due to the uncertainty about Britain leaving the European Union.
The dollar index rose 0.16%, with the euro down 0.14% to $1.1178. Sterling was last trading at $1.3027, down 0.17% on the day.
U.S. Treasury yields rose as investors continued to digest Powell’s comments. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 10/32 in price to yield 2.545%, from 2.511% late on Wednesday.
Graphic: Global assets in 2019 – http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl
Graphic: Global currencies vs. dollar – http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
Graphic: MSCI All Country Wolrd Index Market Cap – http://tmsnrt.rs/2EmTD6j
(Addiitonal reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by James Dalgleish)