March 6, 2019 / 7:41 PM / 8 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks stay flat, Canadian dollar weakens

    * Chinese shares hit nine-month high
    * U.S. stocks struggle for third straight day 
    * Bank of Canada cited "uncertainty" around future rate
hikes

 (Updates with close of European markets, Fed minutes)
    By Chuck Mikolajczak
    NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks
sputtered for a third straight session on Wednesday, unable to
build on a jump in Chinese equities, while the Canadian dollar
weakened after a dovish turn by the Bank of Canada.
    Major U.S. indexes once again struggled to muster any
positive momentum, with the S&P 500 appearing to have met a
strong resistance point around the 2,800 level. After a strong
start to the year, a lack of developments in trade negotiations
between the United States and China has provided little
incentive for investors to push equities higher. 
    "There's nothing specific, the market has gained so much in
such a short period of time, it has priced in a lot of the
positive outcomes related to trade," said Aaron Clark, portfolio
manager at GW&K Investment Management in Boston, Massachusetts. 
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average        fell 92.66 points,
or 0.36 percent, to 25,713.97, the S&P 500        lost 12.31
points, or 0.44 percent, to 2,777.34 and the Nasdaq Composite
        dropped 50.24 points, or 0.66 percent, to 7,526.12.
    Even with little on the trade front, Chinese shares        
surged to a nine-month high, bolstered by hopes of more stimulus
measures from Beijing after China's state planner said the
government would implement measures to further boost domestic
consumption to counter the impact of a slowing economy.
            
    European shares closed just below the unchanged mark, as
weak results from the troubled auto sector weighed and investor
confidence in a rally that has sent stocks shooting up this year
showed signs of fraying.             
    The pan-European STOXX 600 index          lost 0.04 percent
and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe                 shed
0.26 percent.
    In the latest sign of global central bank dovishness, the
Bank of Canada held interest rates steady as expected on
Wednesday amid a slowing economy and said there was "increased
uncertainty" around the timing of future rate increases.
            
    That in turned pushed the Canadian dollar to its worst level
in about two months versus the greenback. 
    The dollar index        rose 0.01 percent, with the euro
       unchanged at $1.1306.
    The Canadian dollar fell 0.59 percent versus the greenback
to 1.34 per dollar.
    Despite the dovish lean by central banks, the Federal
Reserve reported the U.S. economy continued growing in the first
weeks of 2019 amid a still tight labor market in the face of a
35-day partial federal government shutdown and slowing global
growth.             
    U.S. oil prices pared losses and Brent prices were modestly
higher after data from the Energy Information Administration
showed an unexpectedly sharp build in crude inventories, but a
third weekly draw down in gasoline stocks kept losses at bay.
            
    U.S. crude         fell 0.51 percent to $56.27 per barrel
and Brent          was last at $65.99, up 0.2 percent on the
day.

    
 (Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel
Editing by Susan Thomas and Phil Berlowitz)
  
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