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World stocks fall as European shares post weekly loss

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2022-12-16T19:33:41Z

World stocks were stuck near one-month lows on Friday, Wall Street extended its rout and government bond markets came under fresh selling pressure, as a hawkish tone from central bankers and weak data stoked recession fears.

Oil prices dropped over $2 per barrel, swept up in the broader rout. Gold prices saw their biggest weekly loss in four weeks after the Federal Reserve indicated it was not done hiking rates.

The Fed was one of a slew of central banks that jacked up interest rates and signalled that the fight to tame inflation this week.

Euro zone bond yields jumped a day after the European Central Bank pledged further monetary tightening to fight inflation.

U.S. yields also rose, catching up with the global bond sell-off.

Wall Street extended Thursday’s rout, in which stocks suffered their biggest daily percentage drop in weeks, after data showed U.S. business activity contracted further in December, but softening demand helped to significantly cool inflation. read more

The data “confirmed Wall Street’s fears that the economy is quickly headed towards a recession,” said Edward Moya, senior analyst with OANDA.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 1.29%, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 1.38% and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was down 1.17% by 2:13 p.m. EST (1913 GMT).

European shares posted their largest weekly loss since September. The STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) settled down 1.2%, skidding to a weekly loss of nearly 3.3%.

MSCI’s world stock index (.MIWD00000PUS) was down 1.3%, languishing near at its lowest in over a month.

S&P Global’s flash purchasing managers index showed eurozone economic activity contracted for the sixth consecutive month in December, although the deceleration also eased to its slowest pace in four months.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei index closed at its lowest in more than a month (.N225) and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was set for its worst week in two months.

The dollar index edged 0.6% higher, while the euro was down 0.12%.

This week’s hawkish message from central bankers brought an abrupt end to optimism that peak interest rates are on the horizon.

“Central banks delivered a blow to markets that were rebounding in anticipation of policymakers turning dovish on inflation and interest rates,” said Sunil Krishnan, head of multi-asset at Aviva Investors.

The ECB delivered a 50-bps hike like the Fed. Both opted for a smaller increase this time, but flagged there were more increases to come.

Its hawkish message prompted a second day of heavy selling across European bond markets where yields on benchmark German 10-year bonds jumped , .

The yield on Germany’s rate-sensitive two-year bond rose as high as 2.503% on Friday, , its highest since 2008.

“We now expect the ECB to go to 3.25% (including 50 bps in March) and the Fed to 5.25% which argues for persistent pressure on yields and spreads,” said Christoph Rieger, head of rates and credit research at Commerzbank.

In China, where markets are churning around an uncertain reopening, relief at the apparent resolution of a long-running accounting access dispute with the United States was not enough to bolster sentiment.

Meanwhile, Japan’s manufacturing activity shrank at the fastest pace in more than two years in December, while U.S. retail sales fell more than expected in November.

The prospect of further monetary tightening globally kept investors nervous about longer-run growth.

In commodities, the spot gold prices rose 0.8%, but were poised to end the week lower. Gold futures settled up 0.7% at $1,800.20 per ounce but ended the week with their biggest weekly loss in four weeks.

Interest rate hikes increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Oil prices dropped, with Brent crude futures down 2.59% and U.S. crude down 2.3%.

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Morning sunlight falls on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, December 8, 2022. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

A man on a bicycle stands in front of an electronic board showing Shanghai stock index, Nikkei share price index and Dow Jones Industrial Average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

People pass by an electronic screen showing Japan’s Nikkei share price index inside a commercial building in Tokyo, Japan September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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