NEW YORK, March 9 — Global stocks lost ground yesterday and the dollar softened for the first time in eight sessions after a disappointing US payrolls report exacerbated concerns that the world economy was slowing.
Global economic growth worries mounted as data in China showed exports shrank 20.7 per cent in February from a year earlier while imports fell 5.2 per cent.
White House trade adviser Clete Willems said yesterday that Trump administration officials have not made any new plans to send a team to China for face-to-face trade talks, although negotiators have made progress.
US ambassador to China Terry Branstad told the Wall Street Journal that the two sides have yet to set a date for a summit as neither feels a deal is imminent.
Compounding concerns was a US payrolls report that fell well short of expectations, although other measures within the report were strong, sending mixed signals to investors.
“The poor number indicates that we are suffering alongside the rest of the global economy and that it is having an impact on the US,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
“The US has been the best house in a lousy neighbourhood and maybe that is changing.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.99 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 25,450.24, the S&P 500 lost 5.86 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 2,743.07 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.32 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 7,408.14.
While stocks on Wall Street were lower, a late day rally helped curb losses and major indexes ended near session highs. For the week, the Dow and S&P ended down 2.2 per cent while the Nasdaq lost 2.5 per cent. The Dow suffered a loss for its eleventh straight session, the longest losing streak since April 1972, according to S&P Dow Jones Indicies.
The February data out of Beijing and mixed US payrolls numbers came on the heels of a move by the European Central Bank to slash growth forecasts as it unveiled a new round of policy stimulus on Thursday.
The worries knocked European stock markets lower where the STOXX 600 index suffered its biggest daily percentage drop in a month and worst week this year.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.89 per cent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.58 per cent. MSCI’s index was on pace for its worst week since late December.
After the mixed messages in the jobs report, the dollar weakened for the first time in eight sessions. The Swedish crown fell to a 16-year low, before reversing course, as the Riksbank joined its central bank counterparts in Europe and Canada in adopting a cautious outlook.
The dollar index fell 0.31 per cent, with the euro up 0.36 per cent to US$1.1232 (RM4.58).
US Treasury debt yields were lower in the wake of the payrolls report. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.6267 per cent, from 2.636 per cent late on Thursday.
The growth worries, along with surging US oil supply, dented oil prices. US crude fell 1.04 per cent to settle at US$56.07 per barrel and Brent was last at US$65.74 per barrel, down 0.84 per cent on the day. — Reuters
Source: The Malay Mail Online