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Global equities fell and government bond yields rose on Wednesday as firmer crude oil prices and strong US economic data prompted traders to worry that high inflation could be prolonged.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 slipped 0.8 percent and the technology-backed Nasdaq Composite slipped 1 percent, with both indices adding to previous session losses.
In Europe, the regional Stoxx Europe 600 ended the day down 0.6 percent, marking the sixth consecutive day of declines. The French Cac 40 fell 0.8 percent and the German Dax lost 0.2 percent.
Crude oil prices rebounded from the morning’s declines as investors worried about the impact of moves by Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend their voluntary supply cuts until year-end. Oil prices jumped to their highest level since November last year on Tuesday.
Brent crude rose 0.1 percent to $90.14 a barrel and US equivalent West Texas Intermediate rose 0.3 percent to $86.95 a barrel.
Saudi Arabia, which is leading the expanded Opec+ cartel with Russia, has cut an additional million barrels a day from the global market since July in what was originally intended as a temporary measure. Russia said its export cut of 300,000 barrels a day would also remain in effect until December.
“While oil prices have been rising recently, oil markets are likely to remain in deficit for the coming months and we still see room for further increases in crude oil prices,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management.
As two of the world’s largest oil producers seek to boost prices, the move threatens to reignite inflationary pressures around the world, raising concerns among investors about what this means for central banks’ tightening campaigns.
Rising oil prices hit stock markets in China — the world’s largest importer of fossil fuels — where the benchmark CSI 300 fell 0.2 percent.
The global sell-off in equities continued after the US Institute for Supply Management reported that its services purchasing managers’ index rose to 54.5 last month, the highest since February and well above analysts’ forecasts.
The data reinforced signs that the US economy was remaining resilient to rising interest rates and fueled investor fears that the Federal Reserve will maintain monetary policy longer to cool the economy.
The dollar rose 0.1 percent against a basket of six benchmark currencies on Wednesday, hitting its highest level since March, when a crisis in the banking sector drove investors to the safe haven currency.
In Treasury markets, yields on policy-sensitive two-year US Treasuries rose 0.06 percentage point to 5%, while yields on 10-year bonds rose 0.03 percentage point to 4.29%. Bond yields rise when prices fall.
“The resilience of the US economy appears to have led to a reassessment of when the Federal Reserve might start easing policy, pushing real interest rates higher, which in turn has weighed on equities,” said Luca Paolini, Chief Strategist at Pictet Asset Management.
The same is not true in Europe, where a series of weak business surveys earlier this week fueled investor fears of a looming economic slowdown.
Banks and consumer discretionary led the region’s declines, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Financial Services Index falling 0.6 percent. In the US, the KBW banking index fell 1.6 percent.
A day earlier, the headline euro-zone purchasing managers’ index fell short of market expectations, in another sign that the single-currency bloc is struggling under the weight of high interest rates.
The reading provided “further evidence of increasingly weakening growth in Europe ahead of next week’s ECB decision and will only add to fears of stagflation,” said Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank.
Source : www.ft.com