Brexit and Fed fears weigh on world stocks; yen firms

Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:04pm EDT
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stock markets fell while the safe-haven yen firmed on Monday amid concerns that Britain may be on the verge of voting to leave the European Union in a referendum that is two weeks away.

Uncertainty over the outcome of this week's policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve added to the cautious tone.

Though traders predict the U.S. central bank will not raise interest rates this week, investors will be looking for clues about when the Fed might may make a rate move.

A vote by Britain to leave the 28-member EU, dubbed "Brexit," could tip Europe back into recession, putting more pressure on the global economy. Britain's "Out" campaign widened its lead over the "In" camp ahead of the country's June 23 referendum, according to two opinion polls published by ICM on Monday.

"Brexit would present the first formal challenge to the current global economic order and could spark a much wider and more dangerous fracture of the European Union," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management in New York.

The euro dropped to its lowest level against the yen since February 2013. It was last at 119.88 yen, down 0.4 percent EURJPY=. Sterling, which was down broadly, fell to a three-year low against the yen, at 149.50 yen GBPJPY=. The pound last traded down 0.9 percent at 151.04 yen.

U.S. stocks ended lower for a third straight session as investors braced for the Fed meeting and Britain's referendum.

"I think the market is nervous about higher interest rates and frankly about maybe the U.S. economy not being able to get over that last hump to a full recovery," said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa.   Continued...

Traders observe a moment of silence before the opening bell to honor the victims of the shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid