Stocks step back as Evergrande fears hover, while bond yields gain

LONDON (Reuters) – World stocks largely slipped on Friday as worries over fallout from debt-laden China Evergrande persisted, while bond yields in Europe and the U.S. pushed higher after hawkish stances from central banks.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo/File Photo

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.28% after three days of gains, putting it little changed for the week. Wall Street’s S&P 500 index dipped in early Friday trading after European markets fell.

Concern over whether distress at Evergrande could spill into the broader economy has hovered over markets this week. Evergrande has left global investors guessing over whether it will make a key interest payment, adding to fears that Beijing will let overseas bondholders swallow large losses.

“You look back on this week and there is a lot for global markets to digest,” Matthew Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management, said.

“The verdict is still not out on how China is going to manage the cracks developing in their credit markets.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.63 points, or 0.08%, to 34,793.45, the S&P 500 lost 1.17 points, or 0.03%, to 4,447.81 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 80.92 points, or 0.54%, to 14,971.32.

Gains in S&P 500 cyclical sectors such as financials and energy were countering declines for tech.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.75%, as weak German business confidence data also weighed.

Investors were also assessing a busy week of central bank meetings around the world, including arguably more hawkish stances from the U.S. Federal Reserve, as well as from policymakers in Britain and Norway.

Yields on the benchmark U.S. 10-year notes hit their highest level since July 2. The notes fell 14/32 in price to yield 1.456%, from 1.41% late on Thursday. Benchmark yields in Germany and Italy also climbed higher.

“A week of central bank action has shown us that policymakers are ready to move towards reining in on loose monetary policies introduced during the pandemic,” wrote ING analysts in a note to clients.

The dollar index rose 0.288%, and was on track for a third straight week of gains, with the euro down 0.26% to $1.1705. The Japanese yen weakened 0.36% versus the greenback at 110.72 per dollar.

Oil prices were also tracking to weekly increases, with U.S. crude on pace for a fifth week in a row of gains. On Friday, U.S. crude rose 0.46% to $73.64 per barrel and Brent was at $77.67, up 0.54% on the day.

Spot gold added 0.1% to $1,744.60 an ounce.

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