SEOUL, South Korea – Global stock markets were ruffled Tuesday by gyrations in bond markets and lack of an outcome from bailout talks between Greece and its European creditors as the Greek government runs low on cash. Chinese stocks extended gains after an interest rate cut on the weekend.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.6 per cent to 6,917.08 and Germany’s DAX sank 2.2 per cent to 11,419.52. France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.9 per cent to 4,933.01. Futures showed Wall Street was headed for a down day. S&P 500 futures dropped 0.7 per cent to 2,083.20 and Dow futures fell 0.8 per cent to 17,902.00.
VOLATILE BONDS: A sell-off in US Treasurys that was preceded by volatile trading in European bonds has rattled stock markets. Weakness in bond prices, if sustained, could push up borrowing costs and drag on economic activity, which is already lacklustre in many industrialized nations. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen recently warned that long-term bond yields, which move in the opposite direction to bond prices, could quickly shoot higher once the Fed begins raising interest rates from a record low. “Some of the recent volatility in bond markets has played a big role in the choppy price action in equities,” IG strategist Stan Shamu said in a commentary.
GREEK TALKS: Eurozone official Jeroen Dijsselbloem said progress was made at Monday’s meeting among finance ministers from European countries but more time and effort was needed to reach a deal on Greece’s bailout. Greece wants easier bailout terms and is facing an acute cash crunch that many in financial markets think could see the country default on its debts, impose restrictions on capital flows and possibly leave the euro currency bloc.
THE QUOTE: “A failure to resolve the Greek funding crisis is adding to the pressure on local shares,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said in a commentary. “While the rest of the world is now largely economically insulated from Greece, risks remain.”
ASIA SCORECARD: Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat at 19,624.84 and South Korea’s Kospi was also little changed at 2,096.77. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.1 per cent to 27,407.18. But Australia’s S&P/ ASX 200 rose 0.9 per cent to 5,674.70 and China’s Shanghai Composite index advanced 1.6 per cent to 4,401.22.
CHINA CUT: Chinese stocks continued to get a boost from Sunday’s interest rate cut, which was the third cut in half a year aimed at shoring up sputtering economic growth. The central bank’s latest move came after trade data released on Friday showed imports and exports declined in April suggesting domestic and foreign demand are slowing. At the same time, inflation remains low, giving policymakers leeway to ease monetary policy as they strive to keep growth from falling below a 7 per cent target.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 46 cents to $59.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 14 cents to close at $59.25 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 62 cents to $66.24 in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 120.08 yen from 120.16 yen in the previous trading session. The euro strengthened to $1.1258 from $1.1147.