By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks fell on Wall Street as U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday after weak economic data while the euro gained on the U.S. dollar on signs the European Central Bank could be open to scrapping its bond-buying pledge.
Benchmark Treasury yields touched nearly eight-week highs on prospects of hawkish global monetary policy a day after Federal Reserve June meeting minutes showed some officials at the U.S. central bank wanted to start reducing its Treasury bonds portfolio by the end of August.
Higher Treasury yields helped push Wall Street stocks lower on top of disappointing U.S. private-sector labor market data, which clashed with the prospect of a more hawkish Fed.
“ADP came in pretty soft, people got a little nervous there,” said Anthony Conroy, president of Abel Noser in New York. “People said the Fed is pretty uneasy over low inflation but they are still going to keep doing what they are doing with rates because they have to do something.”
Some stock investors also spoke of a lull in news as they waited for the second-quarter earnings reporting season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 158.13 points, or 0.74 percent, to end at 21,320.04, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 22.79 points, or 0.94 percent, to 2,409.75 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 61.39 points, or 1 percent, to 6,089.46.
Earlier Europe’s Stoxx 600 index <.STOXX> touched its lowest point since April 21 and ended down 0.7 percent.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 0.54 percent.
Investors were also uneasy about geopolitical issues and turned their focus to a summit of G20 nations after this week’s test of a long-range missile by North Korea.
The dollar pulled back after the weaker-than-expected employment data which appeared to affirm a gradual pace of interest rate hikes by the Fed.
Investors were also anxious about U.S. nonfarm payroll data due on Friday.
“Any outcome significantly lower than forecast should further dampen Fed expectations and potentially lead to an extended pullback for the dollar,” said James Chen, head of research at Forex.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The euro rose after ECB minutes showed officials discussed taking out an “easing bias” at their June meeting.
The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.5 percent, with the euro <EUR=> up 0.61 percent to $1.1421.
Benchmark 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> were down 10/32 in price to yield 2.3677 percent, from 2.334 percent late on Wednesday.
The 30-year bond <US30YT=RR> fell 30/32 in price to yield 2.9009 percent, from 2.855 percent late on Wednesday.
“All central banks seem to be more ready to row in the same direction at this point, towards tighter monetary policy,” said Ellis Phifer, market strategist at Raymond James in Memphis, Tennessee.
Oil futures settled higher but below their session highs despite a sharper-than-expected decline in crude oil and gasoline stocks.
U.S. crude <CLcv1> rose 0.31 percent to $45.27 per barrel and Brent <LCOcv1> was last at $47.85, up 0.13 percent.
South Africa’s rand <ZAR=> fell 0.5 percent, extending its 1.6 percent drop on Wednesday after proposals to nationalize South Africa’s central bank and expropriate land without compensation. Turkey’s lira <TRY=> fell 0.4 percent, also in its second consecutive day of declines.
(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak, Rodrigo Campos, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Samuel Forgione in New York, Marc Jones in London and Nichola Saminather in Singapore; Editing by Catherine Evans and James Dalgleish)