Global equities mixed

February 2, 2015 08:27 AM

Spanish banks led European stocks lower amid concern that anti-austerity parties will gather support following Greece’s elections. U.S. equity-index futures pared gains while Treasuries stayed lower after a report showed consumer spending fell.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.5% at 8:35 a.m. in New York and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures advanced 0.1%. The 10-year Treasury yield climbed three basis points to 1.67%. The Swiss franc dropped against its 16 major peers after a report the central bank is maintaining the exchange rate in an unofficial corridor. Greek bonds rebounded after the worst week since 2012 following the election of the anti-austerity Syriza party. U.S. oil was little changed amid a strike among U.S. refiners and gold lost 0.8%.

Syriza’s election victory is energizing Spanish anti- austerity party Podemos, whose leader Pablo Iglesias pledged to restructure the nation’s debt if he can convert his opinion-poll lead into election victory. U.S. stocks fell in January while Treasuries had their best month since 2008 amid slower-than- forecast growth and mounting concern sliding oil prices and a strong dollar will hurt corporate profits.

“I still worry about the lack of reforms in Europe and the fact that investment is not really happening,” said Andrea Williams, who helps oversee about $123 billion at Royal London Asset Management in London. “Greece will be a continuing problem, which will concern markets until they come to some agreement. The more concerning issue would be if the anti- austerity parties gained votes in the bigger economies like Spain and Italy.”

Banks Slide

U.S. household purchases declined 0.3%, the biggest decline since September 2009, after a 0.5% November gain, according to Commerce Department data. The median forecast of 68 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2% drop. Incomes and the saving rate rose.

Spain’s IBEX 35 fell 1.9%, with Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA down more than 1.5%. Bankia SA and Banco de Sabadell SA lost more than 3%.

The Stoxx 600 declined after rallying 7.2% last month, its best January since 1989. The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was 19% greater than the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Julius Baer Group Ltd. rallied 6.8% after saying it will cut costs by 100 million Swiss francs ($108 million) as a surge in Switzerland’s currency may crimp profit.

CRH Plc gained 4.7%. Holcim Ltd. and Lafarge SA agreed to sell 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) of assets to the Irish building-materials company to overcome antitrust demands and proceed with their planned merger.

Holcim added 2.3% and Lafarge climbed 0.5%.

Ryanair Holdings Plc lost 4.8% after saying earnings growth next year will be modest because of its fuel-hedging policy.

Exxon Mobil Corp. gained 2.2% in early New York trading after reporting earnings that beat estimates

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