Commodities rise as dollar slips; global stocks end flat
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar touched its lowest level in nearly eight months on Monday, lifting metals prices and commodity sector stocks, and U.S. crude reversed losses to settle above $40 a barrel.
Safe-haven gold hit a three-week high while the yen hit its highest against the dollar in almost a year and a half, as investors remained anxious about the strength of the global economy. The yen's strength pushed Tokyo to warn it could again intervene against its currency's rally.
On Wall Street stocks gave up gains in late trading to end lower, with miners and banks the only gainers ahead of the unofficial start to quarterly reporting season.
Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have fallen 7.7 percent in the first quarter from a year ago. Excluding the energy sector, reeling from the slide in crude prices since mid 2014, the S&P earnings decline estimate improves to minus 2.6 percent according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.
"This is just all jitters and anticipation of the beginning of earnings season," said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner with Meridian Equity Partners in New York. "The expectations aren’t that high for earnings this quarter, so I think investors are starting to feel a little uneasy about that."
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 20.55 points, or 0.12 percent, to 17,556.41, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 5.61 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,041.99 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 17.29 points, or 0.36 percent, to 4,833.40.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.6 percent below the average in the past 10 days.
Europe's FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading shares .FTEU3 ended up 0.3 percent, helped by miners and a rally in Italian bank shares. European stocks have fallen for the last four weeks, and another down week would mark their worst run since mid-2013. Continued...