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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks fall on China, oil down on Saudi assurance
March 20, 2012 / 6:22 PM / 6 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks fall on China, oil down on Saudi assurance

* Chinese iron ore demand seen flattening
    * U.S. stocks fall after strong rally
    * Growth-driven currencies fall on China, dollar up

    By Walter Brandimarte	
    NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Renewed concerns about
China's economic growth weighed on global stocks o n T uesday,
while oil prices dropped more than 2 percent on expectations
Saudi Arabia would act to stem any rise that could hurt the
global economy.	
    Safe-haven Treasuries gave up initial gains, however, as
stocks trimmed some of their losses. Meanwhile, the dollar rose
broadly as growth-related currencies were pressured by Chinese
worries.	
    Concerns about the scale of China's economic slowdown
resurfaced as BHP Billiton, the world's largest miner,
said it was seeing signs of "flattening" iron ore demand from
the country. 	
    U.S. stock indexes were lower after a rally on Monday drove
the S&P 500 index to a level less than 10 percent shy of its
2007 all-time high.	
    "Do I think we are due for a pullback? Yes. Do I think this
is the start of a pullback? No," said Mike Shea, managing
partner and trader at Direct Access Partners in New York.  	
    "The news out of China caused everyone to look up and take a
breath, but the sentiment hasn't changed. It's still bullish."	
    The Dow Jones industrial average declined 54.53
points, or 0.41 percent, to 13,184.60, while the Standard &
Poor's 500 Index fell 4.73 points, or 0.34 percent, at
1,405.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 10.96
points, or 0.36 percent, to 3,067.36.	
    The S&P 500 has gained more than 11 percent so far this year
as a steady flow of strong U.S. economic data encouraged stock
investors. Tuesday's U.S. housing data was mixed, however, with
housing starts falling in February but permits for future
construction jumping to their highest since October 2008.
 	
    World stocks measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index
 dropped 0.7 percent, after closing on Monday
near levels last seen in late July. 	
    In Europe the FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down
1.1 percent as autos and miners were hit by worries of a Chinese
slowdown.	
    "Stocks are being driven down on reports of major discounts
amongst the luxury good car brands in China and comments about
weak iron ore demand," said Richard Batty, strategist at
Standard Life Investments, with $248.37 billion of assets under
management.	
    The dollar rose 0.2 percent against a basket of major
trading-partner currencies, according to the U.S. Dollar Index
. The euro weakened 0.1 percent against the
greenback, to $1.3222.	
    "Investors are snapping up U.S. dollars this morning and the
rally has all the characteristics of a safe-haven bid," said
Kathy Lien, director of currency research at GFT Forex in Jersey
City, New Jersey.   	
    U.S. crude oil prices dropped 2.4 percent to $105.40
a barrel.	
    Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were trading
1/32 lower in price to yield 2.39 percent, up from 2.38 percent
late Monday.

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