Stocks de­cline amid tur­moil from world oil de­mand to Trump fir­ing

Lower oil de­mand weighs on en­ergy; po­lit­i­cal news a worry.

The Palm Beach Post - - MONEY&MARKETS - By Sarah Pon­czek

U.S. eq­ui­ties fell for the sec­ond straight day as mar­kets took in Tues­day’s economic and po­lit­i­cal news. The 10-year Trea­sury yield fell while the dol­lar held steady.

While an in­fla­tion re­port re­in­forced the sense that economic growth is pick­ing up with­out ru­n­away price in­creases, en­ergy shares weighed on the S&P 500 in­dex as oil de­clined on con­cern that global de­mand might not ab­sorb bur­geon­ing U.S. sup­plies. Re­tail sales and crude in­ven­tory fig­ures due out to­day may of­fer more clues on the fu­ture of the econ­omy.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s sud­den fir­ing of Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son — to be re­placed by CIA Di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo — may have in­vestors wait­ing for more shoes to drop at the White House, es­pe­cially when it comes to trade pol­icy.

“We’ve got a new per­son fill­ing the shoes of the Sec­re­tary of State,” said Mike Bai­ley, di­rec­tor of re­search at FBB Cap­i­tal Part­ners in Bethesda, Md. “Although the new per­son has been around in a dif­fer­ent of­fice pre­vi­ously, in­vestors may just be con­cerned about what is this new per­son go­ing to do? Could the new Sec­re­tary of State be more in line with Trump? Be more in­clined to­wards pro­tec­tion­ism?”

Tiller­son’s re­moval fol­lowed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der from Trump block­ing Broad­com from ac­quir­ing Qual­comm, scut­tling a $117 bil­lion hos­tile takeover that had been the sub­ject of scru­tiny on na­tional se­cu­rity grounds.

Qual­comm’s shares fell as much as 5.9 per­cent, weigh­ing down the Nas­daq 100 in­dex.

The Euro­pean stock bench­mark also faded as its trad­ing ses­sion wore on.

Ear­lier, Ja­panese stocks fluc­tu­ated, but they closed higher as Hong Kong and Chi­nese shares slipped.

The yen dropped as in­vestors di­gested the po­lit­i­cal fall­out from a scan­dal em­broil­ing the coun­try’s fi­nance min­is­ter.

Else­where, emerg­ing-mar­ket eq­ui­ties gained for a fourth day. Bit­coin held above $9,000. Gold ad­vanced.

Here are some of the key things hap­pen­ing this week:

■ China data on in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion, re­tail sales and fixed-as­set in­vest­ment all out on Wed­nes­day are likely to point to slower growth, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg Eco­nom­ics.

■ Prices and fac­tory out­put are fo­cal points in the euro area.

■ Also this week, Ger­many’s An­gela Merkel is in­au­gu­rated to a fourth term, and EU27 govern­ment of­fi­cials dis­cuss the Euro­pean Union’s Brexit po­si­tion.

Th­ese were the main moves in mar­kets:

■ The S&P 500 in­dex fell 0.6 per­cent as of 4 p.m. New York time, its big­gest de­cline in more than a week; the Nas­daq 100 in­dex fell 1.2 per­cent.

■ The Stoxx Europe 600 in­dex fell 1 per­cent, the first re­treat in more than a week.

■ The U.K.’s FTSE 100 iIn­dex de­clined 1.1 per­cent, the big­gest drop in more than a week.

■ The MSCI Emerg­ing Mar­ket in­dex gained less than 0.05 per­cent.

■ The Bloomberg Dol­lar Spot in­dex gained less than 0.05 per­cent.

■ The euro gained 0.4 per­cent to $1.2385.

■ The Bri­tish pound climbed 0.4 per­cent to $1.3959, the strong­est in two weeks.

■ The Ja­panese yen de­creased 0.1 per­cent to 106.54 per dol­lar.

■ The yield on 10-year Trea­suries de­creased three ba­sis points to 2.84 per­cent, the big­gest drop in more than a week.

■ Ger­many’s 10-year yield fell one ba­sis point to 0.62 per­cent, the low­est in al­most seven weeks.

■ Bri­tain’s 10-year yield dropped one ba­sis point to 1.487 per­cent.

■ West Texas In­ter­me­di­ate crude fell 1.2 per­cent to $60.63 a bar­rel.

■ Gold gained 0.2 per­cent to $1,325.98 an ounce.

■ The Bloomberg Com­mod­ity in­dex gained 0.2 per­cent.

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