July 30, 2018 / 12:51 AM / 2 months ago

Tech stocks pull down equity markets, euro gains

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global equity markets fell on Monday, pulled down by a sell-off in U.S. technology heavyweights, while the dollar slipped against the euro ahead of several central bank monetary policy meetings later this week.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Most major currencies stuck to narrow trading ranges ahead of central bank decisions. The Bank of Japan ends a two-day meeting on Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve concludes its policy meeting on Wednesday, and the Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates on Thursday.

Shares in Europe fell, led by a 2.9 percent decline in software maker SAP SE (SAPG.DE) and a 2.5 percent drop in French industrial gases company Air Liquide (AIRP.PA). The FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 of leading European shares closed down 0.3 percent.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.37 percent on weakness in the so-called U.S. FAANG group: Facebook (FB.O), Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O), Netflix (NFLX.O) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O).

Wall Street stocks also closed down on the tech sell-off, which included Microsoft (MSFT.O) as another big decliner.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 144.23 points, or 0.57 percent, to 25,306.83. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 16.22 points, or 0.58 percent, to 2,802.6 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 107.42 points, or 1.39 percent, to 7,630.00.

The technology index .SPLRCT tumbled 1.78 percent as disappointing results spurred concerns about future growth for a sector that has led U.S. equities to record highs.

(Graphic: FAANG market cap - reut.rs/2mRA3oi)

“There’s a lot of money and speculation piled into the FAANG stocks, and now that money is coming out,” said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services in New York.

“It’s money coming out of a crowded trade,” he said.

Industrials, energy and materials led gainers on Wall Street, with Caterpillar (CAT.N) raising its full-year outlook after second-quarter earnings nearly doubled and beat expectations, helped by robust global demand for its equipment.

A revival in global growth may lift stocks even as tech shares stop leading the market higher, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

“You’re seeing a change in leadership in the market, and that’s the underlying story here. Energy, financials, materials and industrials are the early leaders,” Arone said.

The S&P telecommunications services index .SPLRCL rose 1.95 percent and the S&P energy sector .SPNY jumped 0.84 percent as oil prices gained. Investors remained cautious over the supply outlook and a potential hit to global output due to U.S. sanctions on Iran. U.S. crude CLc1 rose $1.44 to settle at $70.13 a barrel while Brent LCOc1 settled up 68 cents at $74.97.

The dollar slipped the most against the euro, with the common currency 0.41 percent higher as it recovered from its weakest weekly performance against the greenback in six weeks. The euro tumbled last week after the European Central Bank reaffirmed that rates would stay low through next year’s summer.

Analysts said the euro rebounded largely because traders felt it had been oversold last week.

The dollar index .DXY fell 0.33 percent, while the Japanese yen JPY= retreated slightly, slipping 0.04 percent versus the greenback to 111.07 per dollar. The euro EUR= rose to $1.1703.

Euro zone government bond yields rose after a strong Italian auction boosted demand for Italian debt at the expense of higher-rated markets in the bloc.

Expectations for the upcoming Bank of Japan meeting also pressured yields, analysts said, along with German and Spanish inflation data that remained slightly above the ECB’s price stability target in July.

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield DE10YT=RR, the benchmark for the euro zone, rose more than 4 basis points to a six-week high of 0.46 percent.

Yields on U.S. Treasury bonds rose, with the benchmark 10-year at a six-week high, as investors sold U.S. government bonds on growing speculation that the BOJ may adjust its ultra-loose monetary policy at its meeting.

U.S. benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were down 3/32 in price to yield 2.9747 percent.

Gold steadied ahead of this week’s Fed meeting, which could give clues about the outlook for U.S. interest rates and the dollar, key factors for precious metals prices.

U.S. gold futures GCcv1 for August delivery settled down $1.70 at $1,221.30 per ounce.

(This version of the story was refiled to delete an extraneous “Monday” from first paragraph)

Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Stephen Culp in New York, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and David Gregorio

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