August 12, 2019 / 3:32 PM / 7 days ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Yen and bond bulls charge on; Argentina braces for mauling

(Adds U.S. market open, byline, dateline; previous LONDON)

* U.S.-Sino trade deal unlikely before 2020 U.S. election

* Yen rises to 1 1/2 year high vs dollar

* Gold remains above $1,500 an ounce

* U.S., European equity markets falter, China’s gains

* Argentine peso plunges after primary elections

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Investors piled into gold, the safe-haven yen and bonds on Monday over nagging concerns about a prolonged U.S.-China trade war and global growth, while Argentina’s peso plunged 27% after voters handed its president an election mauling.

The yen rose to its highest in more than a year and a half versus the dollar on the prospect the Japanese currency could gain more in the case of a drawn-out U.S.-Sino trade conflict.

Concerns that a trade deal would not be reached before the 2020 U.S. presidential election grew after Goldman Sachs on Sunday became the latest to cut its U.S. growth outlook and warn a trade stand-off would fester past the election.

U.S. stocks fell, following a decline in Europe, keeping a gauge of global equity performance lower. Stocks in China rallied more than 1% after the yuan avoided further drama after Chinese authorities allowed the yuan to slip below the seven-per-dollar level last week.

Stocks in the near term lack a catalyst either from company earnings, the Federal Reserve or a trade deal, said Rahul Shah, chief executive of Ideal Asset Management in New York.

“The promise of a trade deal coming this year, I think that’s becoming less and less likely,” Shah said. “That does set up the market possibly for a correction at this point,” he said.

Stocks could dip between 5% to 10% but lead long-term investors to enter the market as valuations fall, he said.

MSCI’s gauge of stock performance in 47 countries fell 0.46% while Wall Street also fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 194.22 points, or 0.74%, to 26,093.22. The S&P 500 lost 18.16 points, or 0.62%, to 2,900.49 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 47.54 points, or 0.6%, to 7,911.60.

European shares also fell, with the pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 of leading European shares down 0.25%, while Germany’s export-heavy DAX off 0.1%.

Gold edged up, holding above the psychological $1,500 level. Spot gold added 0.5% to $1,503.52 an ounce.

The yen rose to its highest against the dollar since March 2018 - barring a flash crash in January - gaining 0.38% versus the greenback at 105.29 per dollar.

The euro rose 0.17% to $1.1217, while the dollar index fell 0.11%.

“The longer the trade war drags on, the more likely it would weigh (on) the global outlook and crimp the world economy, a negative for market morale,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

U.S. Treasury yields dropped across the board as trade worries and political tensions around the world in places such as Hong Kong and Argentina supported safe-haven assets.

U.S. long-term yields have fallen in six of the past nine sessions, reflecting investors’ diminished risk appetite. Bond yields in Europe also were lower on the day.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 20/32 in price to push their yield lower at 1.6659%.

The Argentine peso fell to 57.6955 to the dollar after President Maurico Macri’s poor performance in Sunday’s primary election.

Opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez - whose running mate is former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - won by a wider-than-expected 15.5 percentage points.

Oil prices rose despite worries about a global economic slowdown and the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, which has reduced demand for commodities such as crude.

International benchmark Brent crude futures rose 5 cents to $58.58 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures gained 5 cents to $54.54 a barrel.

Reporting by Herbert Lash with additional reporting by Kate Duguid in New York Editing by Nick Zieminski

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