Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday after a bond sell-off on Wall Street fuelled anxiety about a possible U.S. economic slowdown and Australia raised interest rates.
London, Shanghai and Hong Kong declined. Frankfurt opened higher and Tokyo gained.
The yen, trading at two-decade lows, fell further to almost 133 to the dollar.
Wall Street futures were lower after the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.3% on Monday and the market price of a 10-year Treasury bond fell. That increased its yield, or the difference between the day’s price and the payout at maturity.
The difference between short- and long-term Treasury yields is narrowing, which is “making me a little nervous,” because it suggests investors think a U.S. recession is more likely, said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda in a report.
“I don’t think the U.S. is at stagflation yet,” or a period with high inflation and low growth, “but if oil stays above US$120.00 a barrel, it might soon be,” Halley said.
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.2% to 7,595.92 while Frankfurt’s DAX gained 1.3% to 14,653.82. The CAC in Paris added 1% to 6,548.78.
Markets are swinging between gains and losses as investors weigh evidence about whether the Federal Reserve;’s interest rate hikes can cool inflation that is running at a four-decade high without tipping the U.S. economy into recession.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 future was off 0.6% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5%.
On Monday, the Dow edged up less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.4% to 12,061.37.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury, or the difference between the market price and the payout if held to maturity, jumped back above 3% to 3.04%, up from 2.95% late Friday.
The Treasury yield is moving toward its levels from early and mid-May. Then, it reached its highest point since 2018 amid expectations for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively.
Bond buyers usually want a higher payout in exchange for tying up their money for longer periods. A flattening of the yield curve, or the long-term payout falling to match short-term bonds, is seen as an indicator of a possible recession because it shows investors expect economic conditions to be worse than they are now.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1% to 3,234.77 after Chinese authorities further eased anti-virus restrictions that shut down businesses in Shanghai and other major cities.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.1% to 27,943.95 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.8% to 21,481.75.
Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 sank 1.6% to 7,091.50 after the Australian central bank raised a key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points, its biggest margin in 22 years, to cool inflation that is at a two-decade high.
The Kospi in Seoul tumbled 1.6% to 2,628.88 and India’s Sensex fell 1.2% to 54,992.34. New Zealand and Singapore declined while Jakarta advanced.
In currency markets, the yen fell to 132.91 to the dollar from Monday’s 132.01.
The yen has weakened because Japanese interest rates have stayed near record lows while U.S. and European rates rise. That helps Japanese exporters making their goods cheaper abroad but pushes up prices of imports for consumers and manufacturers.
The euro fell to $1.0689 from $1.0691.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 45 to $118.95 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 37 cents on Monday to $118.50. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 38 cents to $119.89 per barrel in London. It lost fell 21 cents the previous session to $119.51.