Stocks weaker for fifth day as US 10-year debt yield tops 3 percent


The DAX (German stock index) logo is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 23, 2018.(Photo: Reuters)

A gauge of global equities suffered its longest losing streak this year on Wednesday as 10-year US Treasury yields again scaled the 3 percent mark, stoking concerns about rising costs that could dampen corporate profits.

The benchmark 10-year note yield edged up to 3.035 percent for a second day as jitters about growing federal borrowing spurred more selling in US government debt. Should it climb above 3.041 percent, its peak in January 2014, it will likely move into territory last seen in summer 2011, analysts said.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last fell 12/32 in price to yield 3.0259 percent, from 2.983 percent late on Tuesday.

“Supply is clearly increasing with a rising deficit. We are seeing some signs of inflation. Those things are very negative for bonds,” said Don Ellenberger, head of multisector strategies at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh.

US stocks ended modestly higher in a choppy session, recovering from declines that had sent the S&P 500 down as much as 0.8 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 59.7 points, or 0.25 percent, to 24,083.83, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.84 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,639.40 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 3.62 points, or 0.05 percent, to 7,003.74.


Market prices are reflected in a glass window at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in Tokyo, Japan, February 6, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

Rising debt yields could tempt portfolio managers to move money into safer fixed-income securities at the expense of riskier assets like stocks and emerging markets as the Federal Reserve continues on its path to raise benchmark US interest rates.

The rise in yields overshadowed earnings from Kering  and Credit Suisse  in Europe, sending the pan-European STOXX 600 to its lowest close in a week, down 0.8 percent.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 lost 0.75 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 0.33 percent.

MSCI’s index was lower for a fifth straight session, its longest losing streak since November.

But concerns about inflation-induced costs were allayed somewhat by results from Boeing , up 4.19 percent. The aerospace company’s profit jumped by more than half in the first quarter, surging past Wall Street forecasts, and it said margins had improved at the start of 2018.

Earnings season has gotten off to a stronger start than was initially expected, with the growth rate for the quarter currently at 22 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. The earnings growth expectation was 18.5 percent at the start of April and 12.2 percent at the start of the year.

The rally in bond yields pushed the dollar to a four-month high of 91.241 against a basket of major currencies and led investors to consider whether the greenback was breaking out of prolonged doldrums.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.48 percent, with the euro EUR= down 0.49 percent to $1.2170.