U.S. stocks fell after Chinese equities entered a bear market on concern a cash crunch will hurt growth. Treasuries pared losses on speculation investors overreacted to a possible reduction of central bank stimulus.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) Index sank 1.2 percent at 4 p.m. in New York, trimming an earlier drop of 2 percent. Ten-year Treasury note yields rose one basis point after earlier jumping to the highest level since 2011. The CSI 300 Index (SHSZ300) of China’s biggest companies tumbled 6.3 percent, the most since August 2009 and taking its drop from this year’s high to more than 20 percent. Copper fell to the lowest level in almost three years and aluminum extended the longest slump since 1987.
Richard Fisher, president of the Fed Bank of Dallas, said investors shouldn’t overreact to the central bank’s plans to reduce the pace of asset purchases. China’s central bank said there’s a reasonable amount of liquidity in the financial system and urged banks to control risks from credit expansion, signaling no relief from a cash squeeze. The nation’s overnight repurchase rate is 6.47 percent, more than double this year’s average.
“Investors have been shaken by the concept of rising interest rates and a reduction in stimulus from the Federal Reserve, coupled with the uncertainty regarding effectively how robust the Chinese central banking system is,” Ethan Anderson, senior portfolio manager for Rehmann Financial in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said by phone. His firm manages about $1.5 billion. “We found ourselves in a headline-dependent environment, which is difficult for investors to function.”
Global equities tumbled last week, with the MSCI All-Country World Index sinking the most in more than a year, after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said bond buying may be scaled back this year should risks to the U.S. economy continue to decrease. The equity gauge has fallen 8.7 percent from its peak on May 21, trimming this year’s gains to 2 percent.
Two Federal Reserve presidents with opposing views on how much stimulus the U.S. economy needs today emphasized that policy remains accommodative. Fisher, who doesn’t vote on monetary policy this year, said in a speech in London that “what we’re talking about here is dialing back.” He said, “The word ’exit’ is not appropriate.”
Fisher, in an interview with the Financial Times published on its website today, said investors behaved like “feral hogs” after the June 19 comments by Bernanke.
Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, who has called for easier policy, said to reporters in a conference call that the Fed must emphasize in its statement that policy will remain accommodative “for a considerable time” after the end of quantitative easing.
“Fisher’s comments seemed to dial back some of the negative rhetoric that people had in terms of Chairman Bernanke’s comments last week,” Michael James, a managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles, said in a phone interview. “This remains a trader and sentiment-driven market that’s susceptible to swings in either direction at a drop of a hat.”
All 10 industries in the S&P 500 fell today, with raw-material and financial companies dropping the most. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. tumbled more than 2 percent. Boeing Co. and Hewlett-Packard Co. slid at least 2.1 percent to pace declines among the largest companies.
The S&P 500 slumped to its lowest level since April during the day, briefly slipping below a 2007 closing high of 1,565.15. The index surpassed that peak in March, recovering all its losses from the financial crisis.
The benchmark gauge has fallen 5.8 percent since a record on May 21, ending its longest run in more than six years of going without a retreat of 5 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The index spent 149 days through June 21 without incurring a 5 percent loss from a peak, the longest since a 173-day stretch ended Feb. 20, 2007, about eight months before the financial crisis sent the market plunging 57 percent.
The S&P 500 has also lost 3.5 percent in June, poised to snap a streak of seven straight monthly advances, the longest winning streak since September 2009. The index has rallied as much as 147 percent from its March 2009 low.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, the measure of options on the S&P 500 known as the VIX, added 6.4 percent to 20.11.
While U.S. equity volatility reached a six-month high last week, expected stock swings are less than half as much as peaks in the last four years and traders are pricing in little increase for the rest of the year. Even after the gauge of options prices on the S&P 500 increased 67 percent since March through last week, it would have to rise 134 percent more to reach its average high of 44 from 2009 to 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. VIX futures expiring in six months trade only 10 percent higher than the index.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 1.7 percent, declining for a fifth day in the longest losing streak in 13 months. The gauge erased its gain for the year, and extended its retreat from the May 22 high to more than 10 percent. The volume of shares changing hands in Stoxx 600 companies was 27 percent greater than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Erste Group Bank AG slid 8.5 percent as Austria’s biggest lender said it will sell about 660 million euros ($865 million) of new shares in the third quarter to help repay state aid.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell for a fifth day to a one-year low, losing 1.7 percent. Benchmark gauges in South Africa, the Czech Republic, the Philippines and Thailand lost at least 2.4 percent.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong slid 3.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the largest mainland market, tumbled 5.3 percent, with trading volume 11 percent higher than the 30-day average. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its 2013 forecast for China’s economy and said the cash squeeze is hurting growth.
Chinese banks must control liquidity risks from fast capital expansion, especially credit, the central bank said in a statement dated June 17 and issued today, signaling no relief to a cash squeeze which risks exacerbating an economic slowdown.
“China has had a credit binge for way too long,” Vasu Menon, the head of content and research at OCBC Bank Ltd. in Singapore, told Bloomberg TV. “The government is trying to rebalance the economy, trying to downsize the shadow banking system. All that means credit is going to remain fairly tight.”
Treasuries pared earlier losses as yields at the highest levels since 2011 attracted traders. The 10-year note yield rose one basis point to 2.54 percent after climbing as much as 13 basis points to 2.66 percent.
Bonds slid across the globe earlier on expectation that a reduction in accommodation from the Fed will lead to an eventual end of record low central bank borrowing rates. The yield on Australia’s 10-year government bond surged 28 basis points to 4.04 percent, reaching the highest since April 2012. Germany’s 10-year bund yield rose nine basis points to 1.81 percent, the highest since March 2012.
U.K. 10-year yields reached 2.59 percent, the highest in almost 20 months, and Switzerland’s 10-year rate exceeded 1 percent for the first time since Oct. 31, 2011.
The dollar declined less than 0.1 percent to $1.3123 per euro after appreciating to the strongest level since June 5. The U.S. currency rose earlier versus the majority of its 16 major counterparts before U.S. reports tomorrow that economists said will show durable-goods orders gained and house prices increased. The U.S. currency weakened 0.2 percent to at 97.72 yen, while the Swedish krona slid to a seven-month low versus the dollar.
Copper fell 2.3 percent to settle at $3.0285 a pound after touching $2.9935, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 2010. Aluminum slid for the 13th consecutive day, the longest slump since at least June 1987.
Gold and silver fell as platinum plunged to the lowest since November 2009. Gold futures declined 1.2 percent to settle at $1,277.10 as Goldman Sachs trimmed its price forecasts through 2014. Silver dropped 2.3 percent to $19.493 an ounce and platinum slumped 2.9 percent to $1,329.10 an ounce, after reaching the lowest level since November 2009.
Crude oil gained for the first time in four days after three pipelines in Alberta were shut because of flooding. Crude for August delivery rose 1.6 percent, the most since June 3, to settle at $95.18 a barrel. Earlier, prices fell as much as $1.02 to $92.67 a barrel, the lowest level since June 4. Enbridge Inc. has yet to restart the pipelines shut by a leak related to severe flooding and hasn’t offered a timeline for service resumption.
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