Global Markets: Equities retreat as growth worries dent risk appetite

 Global Markets: Equities retreat as growth worries dent risk appetite

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stock markets fell on Tuesday, putting a four-session winning streak in jeopardy, as concerns over global growth spurred investors to look towards safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen and government bonds.

Investors shunned risk assets like equities as the International Monetary Fund warned of a dimmer outlook on Monday, China confirmed its slowest growth rate in nearly 30 years, and as Brexit uncertainty continued to drag on sentiment.

On Wall Street, each of the major S&P sectors was in the red, with defensives such as utilities index <.SPLRCU> and real estate <.SPLRCR> outperforming the broader market. Energy <.SPNY> was the worst performing sector as concerns over slowing growth and demand pushed oil prices lower.

"The larger concern is slowing global economic growth," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

"The S&P 500 has more than half of its companies with businesses overseas, so an outlook like this is also going to impact the earnings of 2019 as well."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 182.91 points, or 0.74 percent, to 24,523.44, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 26.5 points, or 0.99 percent, to 2,644.21 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 81.70 points, or 1.14 percent, to 7,075.53.

European shares followed Asia into the red as Swiss bank UBS fell more than 4 percent on disappointing earnings, spelling continued trouble for European banks <.SX7E> which lost nearly 30 percent last year.[.EU]

In its World Economic Outlook report, the IMF predicted the global economy would grow at 3.5 percent in 2019 and 3.6 percent in 2020, down 0.2 and 0.1 percentage point respectively from estimates in October.

The downgrade mainly reflected signs of weakness in Europe, with Germany hurt by new car emission rules, Italy under market pressure due to Rome's recent budget standoff with the European Union, and Britain's planned exit from the EU, or Brexit, hanging over the bloc as well.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> lost 0.47 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 0.83 percent, after climbing 2.7 percent in the prior four sessions.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.22 percent versus the greenback to 109.44 per dollar . "It's a risk-off kind of undertone to the market that is the main driving force here," said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. The dollar index <.DXY>, which rose to its highest since Jan. 4 helped by safe-haven demand, erased gains after data showed U.S. home sales tumbled to their lowest level in three years in December and house price increases slowed sharply, suggesting a further loss of momentum in the housing market.

The dollar index <.DXY>, tracking it against six major currencies, fell 0.01 percent.

The slowdown concerns also pushed U.S. Treasury yields lower as investors shifted some cash back into the bond market. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 8/32 in price to yield 2.7535 percent, from 2.782 percent late on Friday.

U.S. crude fell 3.52 percent to $52.14 per barrel and Brent was last at $60.77, down 3.14 percent on the day.

(Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal, Sruthi Shankar and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Jan 23, 2019 01:05:43 IST