Global shares, oil fall on growth concerns, gold rises
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets and commodities fell on Wednesday as global growth concerns sparked by the International Monetary Fund overshadowed the recent prospect of central bank stimulus from Japan on top of U.S. monetary easing.
U.S. and European shares fell more than 1 percent after a dour report on car sales in Europe and after the IMF on Tuesday downgraded its global growth projections for this year and next.
But gold rose, bucking a fall in other commodities, after a slide to two-year lows this week lured Asian buyers. Sentiment was still severely shaken by the biggest two-day loss in 30 years.
Copper fell more than 3 percent, weighed by growth worries and a 10.3 percent decline in March of European car sales, a key source of metals demand. Defying earlier industry predictions of a second-half rebound, sales are headed for a sixth straight annual decline to a two-decade low.
Brent crude fell below $99 per barrel on the prospect of sluggish U.S. and Chinese fuel demand amid rising crude supplies in the United States.
The North Sea benchmark has lost nearly 6 percent over the past five sessions in a commodities rout triggered by data showing growth in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, slowed unexpectedly in this year's first three months.
The benchmark S&P 500 index retreated from its second-best daily performance of the year after several disappointing earnings reports and the drop in commodities.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 145.44 points, or 0.99 percent, at 14,611.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 21.81 points, or 1.39 percent, at 1,552.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 57.88 points, or 1.77 percent, at 3,206.75. Continued...