NEW YORK Stocks in major markets fell on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan painted a bleaker picture of the world's third-largest economy and as U.S. retail sales data brought down expectations of a strong first quarter.
The yen rose sharply against the U.S. dollar, crude oil dropped and emerging market shares fell the most in more than a month.
U.S. retail sales fell less than expected in February, but a sharp downward revision to January's numbers cooled expectations for a strong quarter of growth for the U.S. economy.
However, the Federal Reserve is not expected to remove the prospect of a rate hike in the near future when it ends its two-day meeting on Wednesday.
"The Fed, I believe, is not going to do anything to take tightening out of the equation," said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer, multi-asset strategies and solutions at Voya Investment Management in New York.
He said first-quarter growth in the United States looks "a bit worse" after the retail sales data. Taken with the recent run-up in stocks and ahead of a Fed statement, that creates the environment for profit-taking.
Healthcare weighed the most on the S&P 500, hurt by a 50 percent drop in shares of Valeant after the Canadian drugmaker slashed its 2016 revenue forecast and said a delay in filing its annual report could mean a debt default.
After trading slightly lower for most of the day, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 2.57 points, or 0.01 percent, to 17,231.7, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 6.19 points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,013.45 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 23.66 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,726.62. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 stocks index .FTEU3 ended down 1 percent, dragged lower by commodity-related stocks. The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index .SXPP fell 4.7 percent.
MSCI's gauge of stocks in major markets .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.7 percent while emerging market shares .MSCIEF dropped 1.7 percent, the most since Feb. 11.
The yen strengthened after the BOJ removed from its post-meeting statement language used after it cut rates in January that it would lower them further into negative territory if needed.
The dollar was down 0.6 percent at 113.13 yen JPY=.
"The yen was already strengthening," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New York. The U.S. retail sales data "just added to the mood of risk aversion, which is what's helping the yen against the dollar."
The euro EUR= was little changed against the greenback at $1.1105. Sterling GBP= fell 1 percent to $1.4155 after a new opinion poll showed supporters of Britain leaving the European Union were ahead in the run-up to a June referendum on the issue.
Oil prices dropped further after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expected lower demand for crude in 2016 than previously thought.
The oil market will be on the lookout later on Tuesday for preliminary data on U.S. crude stocks, due at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) from industry group American Petroleum Institute.
Brent crude LCOc1 last traded down 1.8 percent at $38.84 a barrel, further diluting a six-week recovery in oil prices that has helped buoy stocks markets. U.S. crude CLc1 lost 2.8 percent to $36.15.
"The rally is now retreating on fears that OPEC will continue to flood the market with oil in a world where demand may falter," said Phil Flynn, analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.
U.S. Treasury yields were little changed, with the 10-year note US10YT=RR down 1/32 in price to yield 1.9681 percent.
Spot gold XAU= fell for a third straight session and five of the last six. Copper CMCU3 was little changed after earlier falling as much as 1.3 percent.
(Additional reporting by Dion Rabouin and Barani Krishnan; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)
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Updated Date: Mar 16, 2016 03:45 AM