Stocks Drop on Trade, Political Drama; Bonds Rise: Markets Wrap

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks ended a tumultuous session lower, with Treasuries rose as the latest political turmoil and trade headlines damped demand for risk assets.

The S&P 500 Index slide for fourth time in five days in trading about 15% below the 30-day average. Stocks were under pressure after the release of a whistle-blower complaint central to the latest political drama and reports the U.S. is unlikely to extend a waiver allowing American firms to supply China’s Huawei Technologies. Defensive shares rose as Treasury yields fell. advanced on news the U.S. will send military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

Impeachment and trade headlines continued to hit markets already on edge over signs of slowing global economic growth. The U.S. move to add air defense coverage in Saudi Arabia added to geopolitical unease. Data in the U.S. Thursday signaled the world’s largest economy remains on solid footing, though was unable to bolster market sentiment.

“Markets appear to be more focused on President Trump’s foreign trade policy than his risk of impeachment,” Mike Ryan, Americas Chief Investment Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note. “The wild card here is how this may impact White House decisions on trade negotiations. In addition, we will need to monitor for whether further polarization in Washington could have a knock-on effect on bipartisan cooperation over budget issues or infrastructure spending.”

In Asia, equities in Japan, Hong Kong and India helped drag the regional gauge up as shares in China and Australia fell. The New Zealand dollar climbed and traders trimmed bets for more easing after the central bank governor said interest-rate cuts are working.

These are some key events coming up this week:

  • Core PCE — the Fed’s preferred inflation measure — is due Friday. The forecast is for 1.8%.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index lost 0.2% as of 4 p.m. New York time.
  • The slipped 0.4%.
  • The Index advanced 0.6%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.2%.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index advanced 0.3%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2%.
  • The euro lost 0.2% to $1.0920.
  • The British pound fell 0.3% to $1.232.
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.1% to 107.88 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell five basis points to 1.69%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to -0.58%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield was unchanged at 0.537%.

Commodities

  • were flat around $1,512 an ounce.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $56.50 a barrel.
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