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Stocks slip on virus fears, U.S. yields continue to climb

Stocks came off record highs on Monday partly on caution over rising coronavirus cases globally while elevated Treasury yields continued to support the dollar, which touched its highest in two and a half weeks against a basket of peers.


Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally.

Stocks on Wall Street slipped ahead of the start of an earnings season that arrives with equities at record highs, and as House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Rising coronavirus cases across Europe and China dragged down commodity stocks.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 72.17 points, or 0.23%, to 31,025.8, the S&P 500 lost 13.32 points, or 0.35%, to 3,811.36 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 89.52 points, or 0.68%, to 13,112.46.


The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.67%.


With Asian stock markets also lower, MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.50% after closing at a record high on Friday.


Longer-term Treasury yields were at their highest since March before new long-dated supply this week and on speculation of more U.S. fiscal stimulus since Democrats will have control of Congress and the White House.


Expectations of a multitrillion-dollar stimulus plan and the belief the Federal Reserve will not push back on rising interest rates along with new Treasury supply are helping yields rise, said Gennadiy Goldberg, an interest rate strategist at TD Securities in New York.


Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 7/32 in price to yield 1.129%, from 1.107% late on Friday.


The climb in yields in turn offered some support to the dollar, which rose to its highest in over two weeks against a basket of currencies.


“While the USD may catch a bid on position-adjustment or profit-taking after its recent weakness, a sustained recovery will have to be accompanied by either a clear improvement in recent yield trends or a positive U.S. growth shock,” said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank.


The dollar index rose 0.124%, with the euro down 0.41% to $1.2168.


The Japanese yen weakened 0.17% versus the greenback at 104.12 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3526, down 0.27% on the day.


Morgan Stanley said it had moved to neutral from bullish on emerging market currencies as its forecasts had been hit and factors that kept the U.S. dollar on the back foot may not be sustained.


Crude oil prices fell, hit by renewed concerns about global fuel demand amid tough coronavirus lockdowns across the globe, as well as the stronger dollar.[O/R]


“The renewed concerns about demand due to very high numbers of new corona cases and further mobility restrictions, plus the stronger U.S. dollar, are generating selling pressure,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.

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