March 6, 2019 / 9:11 PM / 7 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks lose ground, 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 U.S. markets, oil settlement prices)
    By Chuck Mikolajczak
    NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks lost
ground for a third straight session on Wednesday, unable to
build momentum from 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 gain ground, 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. 
    "We’re just kind of treading water, waiting for confirmation
one way or the other," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio
manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in New York. "Just
looking for a resolution, we have posturing not policy, so
clarity is what is expected at these levels."
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average        fell 132.22 points,
or 0.51 percent, to 25,674.41, the S&P 500        lost 18.16
points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,771.49 and the Nasdaq Composite
        dropped 70.44 points, or 0.93 percent, to 7,505.92.
    The S&P 500 fell for a third straight session and sixth in
the last seven trading days. 
    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
0.38 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 lowest in
about two months versus the greenback. 
    The dollar index        fell 0.01 percent, with the euro
       up 0.04 percent to $1.1311.
    The Canadian dollar fell 0.64 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 were lower and Brent prices edged up after
data from the Energy Information Administration showed an
unexpectedly sharp build in U.S. crude inventories, but a third
weekly drawdown in gasoline stocks kept losses at bay.
            
    U.S. crude         settled down 0.6 percent at $56.22 per
barrel and Brent          was last at $65.99.

    
 (Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel
Editing by Phil Berlowitz and James Dalgleish)
  
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