Stocks can't hold gains; is it the weather?

Midday update

European Stocks

Carlsberg A/S climbed 7.1 percent after the world’s fourth- biggest brewer posted earnings that beat analysts’ projections. Meda AB jumped 11 percent after the maker of the Dymista allergy medicine forecast an improved profit margin for 2014. Swedish Match AB rose 6.9 percent after the maker of Longhorn snuff reported better-than-estimated profit.

Steel-pipe maker Tenaris SA fell 6.9 percent and Vallourec SA lost 4.5 percent after the U.S. Commerce Department preliminarily set tariffs on imports of steel tubing from eight countries.

The S&P GSCI gauge of 24 commodities advanced 0.3 percent, the sixth consecutive increase and the longest streak since Aug. 16. U.S. natural gas climbed 8.9 percent to the highest price since 2010. Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, forecast colder-than-normal weather in the Northeast and Midwest from Feb. 23 through March 4, boosting demand for the heating fuel.

Gas has surged this year as waves of winter storms and polar air sent temperatures tumbling in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, boosting demand.

Brazilian Crops

Silver dropped 0.3 percent, after rallying 14 percent over the past 13 days.

Iridium, used in spark plugs and for growing metal oxide crystals, climbed to a three-month high after the biggest annual drop in 11 years spurred more buying.

The S&P GSCI Agriculture Index of eight commodities climbed 0.6 percent, the eighth straight gain and the longest streak since 2011. Drought has scorched fields in Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of soybeans, coffee and sugar. Coffee futures jumped 7.8 percent and raw sugar climbed 3.6 percent.

The yen was little changed after slumping yesterday when the Bank of Japan extended its lending programs. The currency traded at 102.33 per dollar, following a two-day decline, and at 140.83 per euro.

The U.S currency was little changed at $1.3763 per euro after touching $1.3773, the weakest level since Jan. 2.

Bonds Climb

Treasuries advanced as investors weighed the weak U.S. housing data. The benchmark 10-year yield touched 2.67 percent, the lowest level since Feb. 11.

“You’re seeing a flow out of risk assets into safer, more liquid securities such as Treasuries,” said Guy Haselmann, an interest-rate strategist at Bank of Nova Scotia in New York, one of 22 primary dealers that trade with the U.S. central bank.

The yield on 10-year gilts fell one basis point to 2.73 percent. The jobless rate measured by International Labour Organization methods rose to 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter, the first increase since February last year, from 7.1 percent in the three months through November, the Office for National Statistics said.

Spain’s 10-year yield rose four basis points to 3.55 percent after declining to 3.487 percent, the lowest since February 2006.

Germany failed to get enough demand for its maximum target of 5 billion euros at an auction of 10-year bunds today, receiving 4.3 billion euros of bids.

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