May 31, 2012 / 2:51 PM / 7 years ago

RPT-GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks hit by weak data; Treasury yield at 60-yr low

* U.S. stocks extend losses after brief leap at open

* Surfeit of weak data depress markets

* Euro rebounds slightly on Irish vote expectations

* U.S. Treasury yields set fresh 60-year lows (Repeats to add Wrapup number in slug; Recasts with start of U.S. trading; changes dateline; previous LONDON)

By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK, May 31 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell after opening higher o n T hursday while the euro rose slightly as disappointing U.S. economic data and worries over Spain fueled demand for safe-havens, pushing Treasury debt yields to 60-year lows.

Commodity prices also gave up early gains, with most energy, metals and agricultural markets poised to mark May as one of their weakest months in years.

Shares on Wall Street opened a touch higher and quickly fell, extending Wednesday’s losses, which were the sharpest in two weeks. The reversal in U.S. stocks also pulled European and global equity markets down.

Investors were dismayed by a slew of bearish U.S. data, including readings on the labor market, a report on overall economic growth and manufacturing in the U.S. Midwest that pointed to a slowdown in the recovery.

“The markets have become less optimistic and much more accustomed to seeing numbers that are just not impressive,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Capital in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“It is clear the markets are pricing in a substantial slowdown moving forward in terms of GDP growth, employment gains, productivity gains - it’s not encouraging for bulls.”

A jobs report from private U.S. payrolls processor ADP showed that private employers created 133,000 jobs in May, fewer than the expected 148,000, while new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 for the fourth straight weekly increase. The data came ahead of Friday’s monthly employment data from the government.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for May — a reading on economic activity in the U.S. Midwest — was well below expectations, sinking from 56.2 to 52.7 versus a consensus estimate of 56.5.

An hour after the open, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 68.42 points, or 0.55 percent, at 12,351.44. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 10.65 points, or 0.81 percent, at 1,302.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 28.21 points, or 0.99 percent, at 2,809.15.

European stocks, tracked by the FTSEurofirst 300 index , were down 0.8 percent. Global equities, measured by the MSCI index, also fell 0.8 percent.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 16/32, with the yield at 1.5645 percent — lower than Wednesday’s 1.6 percent level, which already marked a 60-year bottom.

The euro was last up 0.2 percent at $1.2388 to the dollar, helped partly by expectations of an Irish vote in favor of Europe’s fiscal pact.

On the commodities front, oil benchmark Brent crude in London traded at around $103 per barrel, heading for a 13 percent loss on the month.

Gold was down 0.3 percent at below $1,558 an ounce, on target for a 6 percent monthly drop that would mark its worst May in 30 years. Copper futures in London hit 5-month lows at below $7,438 a tonne.

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