World stocks were down for the fourth day in a row on Tuesday, but strong economic growth in Germany boosted the euro to an almost three-week high.
Wall Street was lower on weak oil prices, uncertainty about U.S. tax policy and the economy’s ability to deal with more interest rate hikes. European stocks fell to a two-month low.
U.S. Treasury two-year note yields climbed to a nine-year peak while long-dated debt yields fell, flattening the yield curve flattened for a second straight day, while investors braced for a Federal Reserve December rate hike.
In Germany a 0.8-percent third-quarter growth reading beat forecasts and showed the economy expanding at annualized rates of more than 3 percent.
“It’s been a euro trade today, and it’s stronger against just about everything,” Brad Bechtel, managing director FX at Jefferies in New York, said. “The numbers out of Germany were pretty good last night.”
The dollar index .DXY fell 0.45 percent, with the euro EUR= up 0.81 percent to $1.1759.
On Wall Street the defensive utilities sector had the strongest showing while the energy sector was among the weakest.
“You’re at the end of the earnings season, economic data is all distorted because of the hurricanes, I don’t think there is going to be any clear picture until we get a firm yes or no for the tax bill,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 55.29 points, or 0.24 percent, to 23,384.41, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 7.42 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,577.42 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 19.04 points, or 0.28 percent, to 6,738.56.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 lost 0.57 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 0.18 percent.
Monetary policy was also on traders’ minds with the heads of the U.S., European, British and Japanese central banks attending a European Central Bank conference in Frankfurt.
The U.S. two-year yield US2YT=RR hit a nine-year peak just shy of 1.7 percent, up from Monday’s 1.687 percent.
Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.3842 percent, from 2.4 percent late on Monday.
The mood in Asia was gloomy after China’s retail sales in industrial output data missed market expectations.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS dipped 0.4 percent in its third consecutive day of losses. Japan's Nikkei .N225 was unchanged after four sessions of losses.
Oil declined on Tuesday for a third day as evidence of rising U.S. output and a gloomier outlook for demand growth in a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) weighed on prices.
U.S. crude CLcv1 fell 2.52 percent to $55.33 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $61.51, down 2.61 percent on the day.
Gold XAU= inched down to $1,272.50 an ounce.