European stocks and commodities fell and the dollar strengthened after the Federal Reserve signaled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus to boost the U.S. economy. Treasuries rebounded from the biggest slide in almost three weeks and Asian shares tumbled the most this year.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.7 percent as of 9:50 a.m. in London. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slid 0.6 percent and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) lost 1.5 percent. The dollar advanced against 14 of its 16 major counterparts, while 10-year Treasury yields fell four basis points to 2.26 percent. The S&P GSCI Index of commodities retreated 0.5 percent.
The Fed will refrain from increasing monetary accommodation unless economic expansion falters or prices rise at a rate slower than its 2 percent target, according to minutes released yesterday from its March 13 policy meeting. Data later today may show U.S. employment increased by 206,000 last month, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The European Central Bank will leave its main refinancing rate at a record low 1 percent today, according to all 57 economists in a Bloomberg survey.
“The perception is that you’re taking away the safety net of excess liquidity that lifted asset prices,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage $1 billion at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “Given the exceptionally good run we’ve had year- to-date, people are reassessing their risk-reward scenarios.”
More than 10 shares fell for each that advanced in the Stoxx 600. Automakers led declines as U.S. sales of cars and light trucks in March missed the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) slid 3.3 percent and Volkswagen AG fell 1.5 percent. Petropavlovsk Plc, a producer of gold in Russia, sank 5 percent as the precious metal retreated for a second day.
Spain’s five-year note yield climbed 11 basis points to 4.37 percent after the nation sold 2.59 billion euros ($3.41 billion) of bonds due between January 2015 and October 2020, compared with a maximum target of 3.5 billion euros. The rate earlier rose as high as 4.39 percent, the most since Jan. 11.
The decline in S&P 500 futures indicated the U.S. gauge will drop for a second day. SanDisk Corp. slid 7.2 percent in German trading after the biggest maker of flash-memory cards cut its forecast for first-quarter sales and profitability, citing weaker-than-expected pricing and demand for components that store data in mobile phones.
U.S. service industries expanded at a slower pace in March, a report at 10 a.m. in New York may show. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index fell to 56.8 from 57.3 in February, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 68 economists. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. ADP Employer Services data may show U.S. jobs increased by 206,000 last month, down from 216,000 in February.
U.S. equities fell yesterday as the Fed minutes showed less urgency to add stimulus. The Fed last month affirmed its plan, first announced in January, to hold interest rates near zero through late 2014 as the economy may fail to grow fast enough to continue bringing down the unemployment rate.
The dollar rose 0.3 percent to $1.3189 against the euro. It earlier reached $1.3176, the strongest since March 22.
“There’s no justification for the Fed to ease monetary policy further,” Vasu Menon, vice president for wealth management at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Singapore. “The market has run up at a very heavy pace, so I think a breather or a correction would be a welcome change for now.”
Brent crude for May fell 0.3 percent to $124.55 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange on forecasts for an increase in U.S. crude inventories in a government report later today. European Union carbon permits for December 2012 delivery traded at 6.48 euros a metric ton on ICE after falling yesterday to 6.05 euros, a record low for that contract. Copper dropped 1.1 percent to $8,524 a ton and nickel slumped 2.4 percent.
China accelerated the opening of its capital markets by more than doubling the amount foreigners can invest in stocks, bonds and bank deposits. The China Securities Regulatory Commission increased quotas for qualified investors to $80 billion from $30 billion, according to a statement yesterday. Offshore investors will also be allowed to pump an extra 50 billion yuan ($7.95 billion) of local currency into the country, up from 20 billion yuan.
Markets in China and Taiwan were shut for holidays. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) fell 0.9 percent, halting a three- day, 2.2 percent climb. South Korea’s Kospi index slid 1.5 percent, the biggest loss since Dec. 19.
Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) fell 1.6 percent, poised for the steepest decline since Feb. 24, while the BSE India Sensitive Index (SENSEX) lost 0.6 percent. The Micex Index (MICEX) dropped 0.6 percent as oil stocks retreated. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index (JALSH) slid 0.9 percent in Johannesburg and Turkey’s ISE National 100 Index (XU100) retreated 0.8 percent.
Australia’s dollar sank to an 11-week low as data showed the nation had an unexpected trade deficit. The so-called Aussie slid 0.6 percent to $1.0268 and touched $1.0259, the weakest since Jan. 16. Australia posted a trade deficit for a second month in February, completing the first consecutive shortfalls in two years.