Friday, 1 August 2014

World stocks fall, dollar up before US jobs data

Global shares fell on Friday and the eased against the dollar, hit by weak euro zone manufacturing data and nerves ahead of a key US jobs report.
While encouraging for the global economy at large, strong US employment data would strengthen the case for an early interest rate hike by the Fed, whose monetary largesse has helped fuel a 45% rally in global stocks over the past two years.
"I still think good data is good for the stock market in the long term because it means the global recovery is still on track," Farhan Ahmad, a trader at Tradenext, said. "Short term, however, we may see some reverberation in the stock market and some further weakening."
The MSCI All-Country World index was down 0.5%, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 1.1%, also weighed down by some downbeat corporate updates and manufacturing data.
The MSCI All-Country World recorded its steepest monthly loss since February last month, falling 1.3% on the back of concerns about a Fed rate hike after strong US GDP and labour costs data earlier this week, as well as geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.
The threat of a conflict between Vladimir Putin's Russia and Ukraine were starting to affect the euro zone economy, with the bloc's manufacturing growth easing in July, a survey showed on Friday.
"The slowdown from the confidence peak earlier this year is noticeable," Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg Bank in London. "Especially in Germany, it reflects the Putin factor, which has aggravated the problems of an already troubled Russian economy."
The euro fell for a fourth straight session against the to trade at $1.3383.
The greenback hovered around 10-month highs against a basket of currency, on track to record a third strong week.
The cautious mood was also felt in the bond market, where yields on the riskier Spanish and Italian bonds edged higher.
Greek bond yields, however, slipped as investors anticipated a credit ratings upgrade from Moody's later in the day.
Copper prices were caught in the slipstream of other asset classes and gave away early gains, which had been fuelled by better-than-expected Chinese factory data.
Gold held near a six-week low and was on track for a third straight weekly loss as the prospect of a tighter monetary policy dented appetite for the yellow metal, traditionally seen as an inflation hedge.
Brent crude held near $106 a barrel as ample supply continued to drag on prices a day after the benchmark posted its worst monthly performance since April 2013.

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