Stocks, yields, oil lower; pandemic fears linger

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A gauge of stock prices across the world was on track on Tuesday for its first back-to-back losses this month, on lingering concern over rising global COVID-19 cases, while oil prices also fell.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York, U.S., February 16, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The dollar index ticked up after earlier touching its lowest level since March 3 and Treasury yields fell, though they still held above last week’s more than one-month lows.

India reported 1,761 deaths from COVID-19 overnight, its highest daily toll, while Canada and the United States extended a land-border closure for non-essential travelers.

On Wall Street, travel stocks weighed on sentiment, with airline and cruise operators falling sharply.

“Rising COVID-19 cases around the world is a risk,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. “Investors may be taking a little bit of profit as they recognize that a lot of ‘reopening trade’ may already be priced into the markets at this point.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 292.03 points, or 0.86%, to 33,785.6, the S&P 500 lost 37.61 points, or 0.90%, to 4,125.65 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 180.30 points, or 1.3%, to 13,734.46.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.90% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.06%.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.31%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.29% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.97%.

After touching its lowest level in nearly seven weeks overnight, the dollar index was slightly higher.

The currencies and interest rate markets could be relatively calm for another few weeks as the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank each take their time adjusting their rate policies, said Mazen Issa, senior currency strategist at TD Securities.

“There really isn’t a strong catalyst in either direction this month to really break us out of ranges,” Issa said.

The dollar index rose 0.228%, with the euro down 0.07% to $1.2024.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.03% versus the greenback at 108.13 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3934, down 0.35% on the day.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 12/32 in price to yield 1.5589%, from 1.599% late on Monday.

Concern over rising COVID-19 cases in India continued to weigh on the oil market.

“Given India’s position as a major crude oil importer… new restrictions would be very bad for the energy complex,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.

U.S. crude recently fell 1.31% to $62.55 per barrel and Brent was at $66.42, down 0.94% on the day.

Spot gold added 0.5% to $1,777.61 an ounce. Silver fell 0.19% to $25.76.

Bitcoin last fell 0.14% to $55,618.79.

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