U.S. stocks retreat as natural gas plunges while yen strengthens

European Markets

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.1% after a two-day decline, with trading volume 25% less than the 30-day average. Danone advanced 3.2% as the owner of Evian bottled water and Activia yogurt reported second-quarter sales growth that beat estimates. Elan surged 3.7% in Dublin after the Irish drugmaker agreed to Perrigo’s $8.6 billion offer.

In European bond markets, Italian declined for a fifth day, pushing the 10-year yield five basis points higher to 4.46%. Yields on Spanish debt of similar maturity increased six basis points to 4.68%.

Currencies, Commodities

The yen appreciated 0.5% to 129.77 per euro, while Europe’s currency slipped 0.1% to $1.3263 as the dollar gained against 12 of 16 major peers. The New Zealand and Australian dollars declined more than 1% versus the yen, the most among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

U.S. natural gas slid as much as 4% to $3.413 per million British thermal units, the lowest since March 4. MDA Weather Services said temperatures would be mostly cooler than normal in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. through Aug. 12. The high in New York on Aug. 6 may be 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius), 11 below average, according to AccuWeather Inc. The forecasts spurred bets of reduced demand for natural gas from power producers.

Nickel dropped 1.1% and zinc declined 0.5% while gains in sugar, gold and silver left the S&P GSCI Index of commodities little changed. Oil was little changed, settling 15 cents lower at $104.55 a barrel in New York.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slumped for a fourth day and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong slid as banks declined after the State Council ordered the National Audit Office to conduct a review of local government debt. Benchmark stock gauges in Indonesia and Thailand sank at least 1.5% while the Malaysian ringgit and the Indian rupee slid about 0.6% versus the dollar.


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