NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rebounded from a three-week low on Tuesday while equity markets in Europe and the United States eased, as investors took stock of recent rallies before chasing further gains.
Analysts said Tuesday’s pullback in stock markets was by no means driven by an aversion to risk, especially since investors are convinced that the U.S. government will unveil more fiscal stimulus to bolster the economy.
Still, the tempered mood in stock markets was accompanied by firmer demand for traditional safe-haven assets such as the dollar and U.S. Treasuries. A stronger dollar in turn weighed on gold prices.
The S&P 500 fell 16.8 points, or 0.46%, to 3,517.73, but still within sight its record high of 3,580.84 struck on Sept. 2. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 128.4 points, or 0.45%, to 28,706.11. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 2.2 points, or 0.02%, to 11,877.63
“Markets have already priced in perfection,” said Ken Polcari, chief market strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in Florida. “It’s ‘buy the rumor, sell the news.’”
European shares also struggled on Tuesday as investors looked past Chinese trade data that pointed to a buoyant recovery.
The Euro STOXX 600 lost 0.77%, ending three straight days of gains, with markets in Frankfurt, London and Paris mirroring its moves.
News that Johnson & Johnson was pausing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials because of an unexplained illness in a study participant also gave investors a reason to take profits for now.
Investors see the quick introduction of a vaccine as key to helping economies recover. J&J’s move comes after AstraZeneca paused late-stage trials of its experimental vaccine in September, also due to a participant’s unexplained illness.
The sentiment in European and U.S. stock markets contrasted with earlier resilience in Asia, where shares were boosted by Chinese data that showed exports rising 9.9% in September and imports swinging to a 13.2% gain, versus a 2.1% drop in August.
The data, which suggests Chinese exporters are recovering from the pandemic’s damage to overseas orders, helped Chinese blue-chip shares rise 0.33%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, however, trimmed earlier gains and was little changed by the end of Tuesday.
In currency markets, investor demand for the dollar helped the dollar index to climb 0.416% against a basket of other currencies, putting it on track for its biggest daily percentage gain in three weeks.
Currency traders were also watching Chinese trade-related issues. Reports that Beijing has stopped taking shipments of Australian coal caused the Australian dollar to drop as much as 0.6% to $0.7165.
Government bond yields in the euro zone held near recent troughs, with hefty supply failing to dent a market bolstered by expectations for further central bank easing.
Germany’s 10-year Bund yield touched -0.538%, its lowest in just over a week. Italian and Greek benchmark 10-year debt both hit record lows.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was last down 4.3 basis points at 0.7322%.
Gold dropped 1.6% to $1,891.01 per ounce. (Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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