April 5, 2012 / 7:07 PM / 6 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro dips, bonds rise on euro zone worries

* World, U.S. stocks dip, but bonds gain

* Shanghai shares up on China bank policy

* Euro falls to 3-week low vs dollar

* Spanish 10-year yields up 12 bp to 5.86 percent

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, April 5 (Reuters) -

The euro hit a three-week low against the dollar and bonds edged higher on Thursday as Spain’s debt burden fueled worries about further problems for euro zone economies and curtailed investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

Global stocks dipped, while energy and gold prices climbed.

A poor Spanish bond auction on Wednesday added to worries that the impact of the European Central Bank’s one trillion euro injection of cheap three-year funds into the banking system may be coming to an abrupt halt.

Spanish 10-year government bond yields rose as high as 5.86 percent on Thursday, dragging Italian rates in their wake as investors fled to the relative safety of German and U.S. debt.

The moves follow two days of losses in stocks and other markets following the release Tuesday of minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting, which suggested the Fed was less keen to launch further economic stimulus.

“The whole European situation seems to be reheating ... and there is more safe-haven type buying,” said Sean Murphy, a Treasuries trader at Societe Generale in New York.

The worries added a safety bid for bonds, with the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note up 13/32, with the yield at 2.1752 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro was down 0.7 percent at$1.3052, having hit a three-week low of $1.3038. It also hit its lowest in four weeks against the yen at 106.86 yen before recovering slightly to trade at 107.23 yen, down 1 percent.

Spain’s cost of borrowing on markets over 10 years jumped 30 basis points on Wednesday after borrowing costs rose at its bond auction. The yield premium over German benchmarks is now 411 basis points, its highest since late November before the ECB flooded the market with three-year funds.


The MSCI world equity index was last down 0.2 percent, while U.S. stocks were also slightly lower.

Traders cautioned that some of the moves may be exaggerated by thin trading ahead of an extended Easter weekend, and while global stock markets lost more than 1 percent of their value on Wednesday, they remain up almost 10 percent this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 45.75 points, or 0.35 percent, at 13,029.00. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 3.54 points, or 0.25 percent, at 1,395.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.84 points, or 0.22 percent, at 3,074.93.

For U.S. stocks, offsetting some concern about the euro zone was data showing the number of Americans lining up for new jobless benefits fell to the lowest in nearly four years last week.

Analysts said the claims data and a report on private-sector jobs earlier this week may bode well for the U.S. government’s widely watched monthly employment report, which is due Friday.

The U.S. outlook was in sharp contrast with Europe where separate reports showed German industrial output fell more than expected in February and British factory output suffered itsbiggest monthly fall in almost a year

Spain’s IBEX 35 index touched a 7-month low as concerns mounted about Spain’s ability to meet its budget targets, while Europe’s FTSEurofirst 300 index ended up 0.1 percent.

Banking stocks, many of which have large exposure to the region’s lower-rated sovereign debt, edged lower.

UniCredit and Commerzbank, which both have exposure to euro zone peripheral debt, were also hard hit, down 3.1 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

Bucking the softer global trend, non-banking financial sector firms led Chinese shares to their biggest single-day gain since early February, after Premier Wen Jiabao said the monopoly formed by the country’s big banks needed to be broken to get money flowing to cash-starved companies.


Spot gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,628.34 an ounce. Weaker prices tempted some buyers but gains were capped by a stronger dollar and fading hopes of a fresh round of U.S. stimulus.

Market watchers said some hedge funds might have reduced gold holdings due to stronger U.S. economic data and easing of fears about European debt.

“A lot of the gold trade by hedge funds was specifically tied to a new round of Fed stimulus,” said Jeffrey Sica, chief investment officer of SICA Wealth Management with more than $1 billion in assets.

In the other market, U.S. crude was up $1.62 at $103.09 per barrel, while Brent crude was up $1.13 at $123.47.

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