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Bonds News

GLOBAL MARKETS-World stocks pause rally on J&J news, USD bounces from 3-week low

(Updates prices)

NEW YORK, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose from a three-week low on Tuesday while shares in Europe and the United States eased, as news of a pause in Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine trial led investors to take stock of recent rallies before chasing further gains.

Some analysts said Tuesday’s pullback in stock markets was not indicative of a deeper aversion to risk, given that many investors are convinced that there is more fiscal stimulus to come in the United States.

Still, the dip in stock markets was accompanied by firmer demand for traditional safe-haven assets such as the dollar and government bonds. A stronger dollar in turn weighed on gold prices.

Trade data from China released overnight that suggested the world’s second-largest economy was rebounding was mostly brushed aside by stock and bond markets, though it boosted oil prices as investors hoped for a slow recovery in energy demand.

The S&P 500 fell 23.5 points, or 0.65%, to 3,511.20, but still within sight its record high of 3,580.84 struck on Sept. 2. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 139.8 points, or 0.48%, to 28,699.30. The Nasdaq Composite erased earlier gains to slip 36.3 points, or 0.3%, to 11,842.03 points.

Shares in Johnson & Johnson sagged 2.6% as investors digested news that a participant in its COVID-19 vaccine trial had fallen ill and that it would take the company at least a few days to evaluate the situation.

Investors see the quick introduction of a vaccine as key to helping economies recover. J&J’s news comes after its rival AstraZeneca, which uses a similar technology, paused the trial of its experimental vaccine in September due to a participant’s unexplained illness.

“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 as investors found a reason in news of Johnson & Johnson’s delayed trial to take profits.

The Euro STOXX 600 lost 0.77%, ending three straight days of gains, with markets in Frankfurt, London and Paris mirroring its moves.

The sentiment in European and U.S. equities defied earlier resilience in Asia, where Chinese shares got a lift from 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 suggested Chinese exporters were recovering from the pandemic’s damage to overseas orders and 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.

The overall subdued mood in stock markets contrasted with the dollar, which is on track for its best daily performance in three weeks, as the dollar index climbed 0.54% against a basket of other currencies to 93.546.

The Australian dollar, on the other hand, was slugged by news that Beijing has stopped taking shipments of Australian coal. The Aussie dropped as much as 0.76% to $0.7152 .

Government bond yields mostly fell as demand for safe-haven bonds firmed.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield retreated to 0.7289%, a low not seen since Aug. 4.

Government bond yields in the euro zone also 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.

A stronger dollar capped gold prices, which dropped 1.5% to $1,893.01 per ounce.

Benefiting from China’s promising trade data, Brent crude futures were up 73 cents, or 1.75%, to $42.45 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 81 cents, or 2.05%, to $40.24 a barrel.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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