Global Equities Retreat, Treasury Yields Drop as U.S. Data Impacts Markets; Oil Edges Higher Amidst Red Sea Concerns


Global Equities Retreat, Treasury Yields Drop as U.S. Data Impacts Markets; Oil Edges Higher Amidst Red Sea Concerns

NEW YORK (Reuters) – MSCI’s global equities index experienced a more than 1% decline on Wednesday, breaking a streak of nine consecutive days of gains. Simultaneously, Treasury yields fell as U.S. economic data surpassed expectations, and UK inflation slowed unexpectedly.

Oil prices settled slightly higher after reaching a nearly three-week peak, driven by concerns about disruptions in the Red Sea due to increased attacks on commercial ships by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militants.

The dollar strengthened against major currencies, while sterling faced a sharp decline after UK inflation in November hit its lowest rate in over two years at 3.9%, below economists’ expectations of 4.4%.

Unexpectedly, U.S. existing home sales rose in November, and the Conference Board reported a surge in consumer confidence to 110.7, surpassing expectations.

Initially responding positively to the data, the S&P 500 lost momentum in afternoon trading, closing down 1.5%, having approached within 0.4% of its January 2022 record high.

“There’s been a significant amount of complacency. And once you weren’t making meaningful inroads to higher highs through lunch today, a little bit of selling got us to negative on the day,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

MSCI’s global stocks gauge declined by 0.91%, breaking its nine-session winning streak. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.27%, the S&P 500 lost 1.47%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.5%.

In U.S. Treasuries, the 10-year yield reached an almost five-month low after the British inflation data, with benchmark 10-year notes down 6.7 basis points.

The dollar strengthened against sterling due to UK inflation data, while the dollar index rose. In commodities, Brent crude hovered above $80 a barrel, reflecting concerns about global trade disruptions and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

U.S. crude settled up 0.38% at $74.22 per barrel, and Brent settled at $79.70, up 0.59%. In precious metals, spot gold dropped 0.4% to $2,031.61 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures fell 0.27% to $2,034.50 an ounce.

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