Shares falls as Nasdaq tumbles, dollar edges higher

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NEW YORK/LONDON — World equity indexes slid and U.S. Treasury yields fell on Tuesday as low trading volume, a lull in economic news and lack of a catalyst to lift stocks higher sparked a sell-off by investors worried further upside in markets is limited.

The tech-rich Nasdaq fell 2.3%, marking its biggest single-day decline in six weeks, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low of 1.557%, a slide that normally would push technology shares higher.

A recent surge in commodity prices bucked the downward shift in equity markets and helped spur talk of an inflation spike.

The Refinitiv/CoreCommodity CRB Index traded near three-year highs as commodities rallied on investor bets demand will grow as economies reopen.

Investors sold the high-flying tech-related stocks that have doubled the value of the Nasdaq since March 2020 lows, and bought government debt, pushing yields lower.

Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp led the decline on Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

“There’s not a lot of conviction among traders of which way markets should go from here,” said Patrick Leary, chief market strategist and senior trader at Incapital. “We’ve priced in a great amount of reopening optimism.”

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MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets fell 1.06% to 695.88.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.26%, the S&P 500 lost 1.03% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.27%.

Economically sensitive value stocks fell 0.2%, outperforming a 2% slide in growth stocks. After today’s slide, the Russell 1000 Value Total Return Index has almost quadrupled the performance of the Russell 1000 Growth Total Return Index so far this year

European tech stocks plunged 3.8% in their worst day since late-October. Germany’s bourse shed 2.5%, the most in Europe, due to its high composition of tech stocks.

Chipmaker Infineon fell 5.9%, among the top drags on the German index, after the company said it expected supply constraints in the automotive sector to only ease in the second half, with lost volumes likely to be made up in 2022.

In currency markets, the dollar clawed back some ground to partially unwind last month’s long decline as investors squared up positions ahead of monthly payrolls data due at the end of the week.

The dollar index rose 0.337%, with the euro down 0.42% to $1.201. The Japanese yen weakened 0.22% versus the greenback at 109.31 per dollar.

Signs that the world’s major central banks remain in no rush to reel in their massive stimulus programs kept 10-year U.S. Treasury yields under 1.65% and Germany’s Bund yields below 13-month highs.

Australia’s central bank left its key interest rates at near zero overnight for a fifth straight meeting and pledged to keep its policies super-supportive for a prolonged period.

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Australia’s S&P/ASX200 had risen 0.6% and Hong Kong had climbed 0.7% in thin Asian trading due to holidays in both China and Japan.

Cryptocurrency ether powered to another record peak, nearing $3,500, before paring gains to trade 5.4% lower.

Palladium prices soared to all-time highs, fueled by concerns about short supplies of the auto-catalyst metal as demand gradually improves.

Oil prices rose after more U.S. states eased pandemic-related lockdowns and the European Union sought to attract travelers, though soaring COVID-19 cases in India capped gains.

Brent crude futures settled up $1.32 at $68.88 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures rose $1.20 to settle at $65.69 a barrel.

Gld fell 1% after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said interest rates may need to rise.

U.S. gold futures settled down 0.9% at $1,776 an ounce.

(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Ed Osmond, John Stonestreet and Chizu Nomiyama)

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