Global Markets: Stocks end fourth week of gains on sour note as investors jeer earnings

By Trevor Hunnicutt NEW YORK (Reuters) - World shares were little changed on Friday as mixed corporate profits and economic data that only met expectations struggled to displace concerns over trade and central bank policy, though a key global equity index was still set for a fourth week of gains. The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was down 0.35 percent, though still set for its fourth weekly advance.

Reuters July 28, 2018 00:05:14 IST
Global Markets: Stocks end fourth week of gains on sour note as investors jeer earnings

Global Markets Stocks end fourth week of gains on sour note as investors jeer earnings

By Trevor Hunnicutt

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World shares were little changed on Friday as mixed corporate profits and economic data that only met expectations struggled to displace concerns over trade and central bank policy, though a key global equity index was still set for a fourth week of gains.

The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was down 0.35 percent, though still set for its fourth weekly advance.

Investors surveyed a host of second-quarter corporate results, punishing those that came up short, including Intel Corp, down 8.6 percent after its fast-growing data center business missed estimates. Exxon Mobil Corp fell 3 percent and Twitter Inc sank 19 percent after their results.

Data showed the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter, as consumers boosted spending and farmers rushed shipments of soybeans to China to beat retaliatory trade tariffs before they took effect in early July.

But the economic growth figures were widely expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 131.68 points, or 0.52 percent, to 25,395.39, the S&P 500 lost 25.01 points, or 0.88 percent, to 2,812.43 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 133.20 points, or 1.7 percent, to 7,718.98.

Bonds did not sell off, as some investors had expected, on strongly positive news. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields slipped from their highest level in 1-1/2 months and last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.9579 percent, from 2.975 percent late on Thursday.

Rates markets await an important week of meetings at the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan (BoJ). Earlier speculation that the BoJ might tweak its policies rattled global markets. The bank's aggressive efforts to keep yields in its own markets low has pushed investors to markets elsewhere, keeping a lid on yields worldwide.

Japan's 10-year government bond yield hit one-year highs even as the BOJ conducted special, unlimited buying for the second time this week that kept the bonds from shooting higher in yield.

Helped by the yield spike, the Japanese yen strengthened 0.31 percent versus the greenback at 110.90 per dollar.

Against a basket of currencies, the greenback fell 0.1 percent. [FRX/]

U.S. disagreements with its trading partners slipped from the headlines after an agreement on Wednesday to negotiate with the European Union, but Chinese markets still showed scars of the unresolved rifts.

The main Shanghai index closed down 0.4 percent with the U.S.-China standoff on trade still unresolved.

Copper, which is sensitive to growth prospects especially in emerging markets, lost 0.68 percent to $6,248.00 a tonne.

Oil, also sensitive to worldwide economic demand, also sank. U.S. crude fell 1.32 percent to $68.69 per barrel and Brent was last at $74.25, down 0.39 percent on the day.

"While the prospect of tariffs on European cars has diminished, it hasn't gone away completely, which means inevitably the market shifts its attention elsewhere," said CMC Markets chief markets analyst Michael Hewson.

"That elsewhere concerns what could happen next with respect to China, and the prospect of an escalation there," he said.

The Chinese offshore yuan fell to 6.855 per dollar, its weakest since June 2017, before rebounding to end stronger on the day. Earlier losses were cushioned by Chinese state banks' trading to support the currency.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Tom Brown)

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

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