By Lewis Krauskopf
NEWYORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global stock markets dipped slightly on Monday after a mostly strong month and benchmark U.S. bond yields edged lower as investors awaited developments this week from central banks in the United States and elsewhere.
Oil prices slumped as more poor Chinese economic figures fanned fears of lower worldwide oil demand.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.06%, as modest increases for Wall Street’s main indexes led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq were countered by some weakness in Europe.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to give its policy statement on Wednesday, with expectations running high the central bank is poised to cut interest rates this year.
“You can’t expect much of a bet to be made two days before what may or may not be a pivotal Fed meeting and announcement,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities Corporation.
The European Central Bank is also holding a forum in Portugal this week, with the Bank of Japan set to hold its policy meeting later in the week.
The Fed is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged at its meeting but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year, with concerns about the global economy fueled by a heightening U.S.-China trade war.
The New York Federal Reserve said its gauge of business growth in New York state posted a record fall this month to its weakest level in more than 2-1/2 years, suggesting an abrupt contraction in regional activity.
“The Empire manufacturing numbers that came out were dreadful,” said Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors in Chicago. “We’re back to that the idea that bad news is good news, with the Fed meeting around the corner, and that the Fed will respond with lower rates.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22.92 points, or 0.09%, to 26,112.53, the S&P 500 gained 2.69 points, or 0.09%, to 2,889.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 48.37 points, or 0.62%, to 7,845.02.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.09%. Shares of Lufthansa plunged 12% after the German airline lowered its profit outlook for the year, citing intense competition from low-cost rivals.
U.S. Treasury yields slipped in choppy trading, weighed down by softer-than-expected U.S. economic data and persistent pressure from the trade conflict with China.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.0855%, from 2.094% late on Friday.
The dollar index fell 0.01%, with the euro up 0.06% to $1.1214.
U.S. crude settled down 1.1% at $51.93 a barrel, while Brent settled at $60.94, down 1.7%.
(Graphic – Trade tensions boost U.S. rate-cut expectations, https://tmsnrt.rs/2KdE2by)
(Graphic – Global assets in 2019, http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl)
(Graphic – World FX rates in 2019, http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh)
(Graphic – MSCI All Country World Index Market Cap, http://tmsnrt.rs/2EmTD6j)
(Graphic – China trade shock interactive, https://tmsnrt.rs/2SRopIf)
(Graphic – Asia stock markets, https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4)
(Graphic – Asia-Pacific valuations, https://tmsnrt.rs/2Dr2BQA)
(Additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Susan Thomas and Rosalba O’Brien)