U.S. stocks pare losses as emerging currencies, copper decline

Stocks pared losses, while Treasuries rose amid a slump in emerging-market currencies. Copper fell for an eighth day, the longest streak since December 1998.

The S&P 500 (CME:SPH14) slipped 0.1% as of 2:38 p.m. in New York, trimming an earlier drop of 1.2%. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.3%. The Treasury 10-year (CBOT:ZNH14) rate fell three basis points to 2.66%, while Germany’s 30-year yields reached the lowest since August. Argentine dollar bonds dropped and Hungary’s forint plunged for a third day. The yen strengthened against the dollar, heading for its biggest monthly advance since April 2012. U.S. natural gas (NYMEX:NGH14) declined 2.6%.

About $1.8 trillion has been erased from the value of equities worldwide this month as China’s economy slows and the Federal Reserve further cut stimulus. U.S. consumer confidence declined in January, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of sentiment, and companies from Amazon.com Inc. to Mattel Inc. gave disappointing earnings reports.

“This week, we’ve seen synchronized volatility in the markets, with very weak currencies and disappointing Chinese manufacturing figures,” said Christian Stocker, a senior strategist at UniCredit Bank AG in Munich. “We need an increase in earnings momentum to see stock prices go higher.”

U.S. benchmark indexes are headed for their first monthly decline since August. Earlier this week, the Fed decided to reduce its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion. Three rounds of U.S. monetary stimulus helped the S&P 500 rise as much as 173% from a 12-year low in 2009.

Earnings Season

Amazon slumped 9.5%, the biggest intraday drop in two years, after the world’s largest Web retailer reported profit and sales that trailed analysts’ estimates. Mattel sank 13% after a drop in Barbie doll sales weighed on results.

Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported results this earnings season, 79% beat analysts’ estimates, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Google Inc. climbed 4% after its quarterly sales topped projections. Zynga Inc. surged 21% after the maker of “FarmVille” announced it will cut staff and buy a mobile- game developer.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final January index of consumer sentiment fell to 81.2 from 82.5 a month earlier, a report showed today. The median forecast of 68 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for 81 after a preliminary reading of 80.4.

Consumer Spending

Another report showed consumer spending in the U.S. climbed more than forecast in December even as incomes stagnated. Household purchases, which account for about 70% of the economy, rose 0.4%, after a 0.6% gain the prior month that was larger than previously estimated. The median projection of 81 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2% rise.

About two shares declined for each that advanced in the Stoxx 600. The gauge has lost 1.8% this month, the most since June.

Electrolux AB lost 8.8% after the world’s second- biggest maker of home appliances reported quarterly profit that missed estimates. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA jumped 7.9% after the world’s largest luxury-goods maker reported a profit gain as growth in fashion and leather-goods sales rebounded.

Emerging Markets

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was little changed, paring a 0.6% retreat. The gauge is down 6.7% in January. Markets in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are closed for holidays. Turkey’s benchmark stock gauge fell 1.3% after the nation’s trade deficit widened in December.

The forint dropped 0.7% versus the euro as Hungarian central bank President Gyorgy Matolcsy today pledged a “close alliance” with the government, which has advocated lower rates to spur recovery from recession.

Argentine dollar bonds fell the most in emerging markets on concern government measures from devaluation to rate increases aren’t enough to improve the country’s deteriorating debt payment capacity. The debt due 2015 fell 3.88 cents on the dollar to 85.75 cents, driving yields up to 19.12%, the highest since June 2012. The extra yield investors demand to own Argentine bonds over U.S. Treasuries widened 75 basis points to 1,142 basis points.

European government bonds rallied as slowing euro-area inflation boosted speculation the European Central Bank will take more measures to stimulate the economy. Spanish and Italian two-year rates fell to records after a report showed annual euro-area inflation dropped to 0.7% in January, missing analyst estimates for a 0.9% reading.

European Inflation

“The ECB did warn us that inflation would be low but I’m pretty much convinced that they didn’t expect it to be as low as it’s gotten to,” said Padhraic Garvey, head of developed-market debt strategy at ING Groep NV in Amsterdam. “This is clearly disinflation and we’re facing the threat of that going forward. It’s bullish for core bonds.”

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index returned 1.4% in January as of Jan. 30, including reinvested interest, the most since December 2011. The gauge, which tracks more than 21,200 securities with a market value exceeding $45 trillion, shows yields are about 1.9% on average, down from almost 2.10% at the end of December and last year’s high of 2.27% in September.

The euro weakened 0.4% to $1.3504, while the yen gained 0.4% to 102.35 per dollar.

Copper declined 0.4% to $7,065 a metric ton, the eighth consecutive drop. Aluminum fell as much as 1.8% to $1,698.25 a ton, the lowest since July 2009. China is the biggest buyer of the metals.

Natural gas fell for a second day in New York, heading for the biggest weekly drop in more than a year, as forecasts for milder weather in February signaled reduced demand for heating fuel. Commodity Weather Group LLC said bitter cold across the lower 48 states next week will give way to higher temperatures along the East Coast from Feb. 10 through Feb. 14.


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