Global markets: Stocks, Dollar fall as growth worries mount

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Published: March 9, 2019 6:58:02 AM

After the mixed messages in the jobs report, the dollar weakened for the first time in eight sessions.

The worries knocked European stock markets lower where the STOXX 600 index suffered its biggest daily percentage drop in a month and worst week this year. (Representational/Reuters)

Global stocks lost ground on Friday and the dollar softened for the first time in eight sessions after a disappointing

U.S. payrolls report exacerbated concerns that the world economy was slowing.
Global economic growth worries mounted as data in China showed exports shrank 20.7 percent in February from a year earlier while imports fell 5.2 percent.

White House trade adviser Clete Willems said on Friday that Trump administration officials have not made any new plans to send a team to China for face-to-face trade talks, although negotiators have made progress.

U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad told the Wall Street Journal that the two sides have yet to set a date for a summit as neither feels a deal is imminent.

Compounding concerns was a U.S. payrolls report that fell well short of expectations, although other measures within the report were strong, sending mixed signals to investors.

“The poor number indicates that we are suffering alongside the rest of the global economy and that it is having an impact on the U.S.,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“The U.S. has been the best house in a lousy neighborhood and maybe that is changing.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.99 points, or 0.09 percent, to 25,450.24, the S&P 500 lost 5.86 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,743.07 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.32 points, or 0.18 percent, to 7,408.14.

While stocks on Wall Street were lower, a late day rally helped curb losses and major indexes ended near session highs. For the week, the Dow and S&P ended down 2.2 percent while the Nasdaq lost 2.5 percent. The Dow suffered a loss for its eleventh straight session, the longest losing streak since April 1972, according to S&P Dow Jones Indicies.

The February data out of Beijing and mixed U.S. payrolls numbers came on the heels of a move by the European Central Bank to slash growth forecasts as it unveiled a new round of policy stimulus on Thursday.

The worries knocked European stock markets lower where the STOXX 600 index suffered its biggest daily percentage drop in a month and worst week this year.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.89 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.58 percent. MSCI’s index was on pace for its worst week since late December.

After the mixed messages in the jobs report, the dollar weakened for the first time in eight sessions. The Swedish crown fell to a 16-year low, before reversing course, as the Riksbank joined its central bank counterparts in Europe and Canada in adopting a cautious outlook.

The dollar index fell 0.31 percent, with the euro up 0.36 percent to $1.1232.

U.S. Treasury debt yields were lower in the wake of the payrolls report. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.6267 percent, from 2.636 percent late on Thursday.

The growth worries, along with surging U.S. oil supply, dented oil prices. U.S. crude fell 1.04 percent to settle at $56.07 per barrel and Brent was last at $65.74 per barrel, down 0.84 percent on the day.

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