Stocks Fall As Tech Shares Weigh; Gold Rises to More Than 3-Month High

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FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a facial mask, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, stands in front of an electric board showing Nikkei (top in C) and other countries stock index outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo, Japan, January 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

NEW YORK ⸺ Stock indexes edged lower globally on Monday, with technology shares weighing the most on the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 index, while gold prices hit their highest in more than three months as investors sought safety. 

U.S. Treasury yields, however, traded little changed even after a report showing the highest prices ever paid in a May manufacturing survey for New York State.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, produced by the New York Fed, showed the prices paid index rose to a record 83.5, the highest since the data series began in 2001, said Tom Simons, money market economist at Jefferies & Co. 

The S&P 500 technology sector was down 0.7% and the biggest drag on the benchmark index. Wall Street’s declines also follow the S&P 500’s biggest one-day jump in more than a month on Friday.

While the week is expected to be relatively quiet for economic data, investors will be anxious to see minutes on Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month, which could shed more light on the policymakers’ outlook on an economic rebound.

“The Fed has been pretty consistent in its message that it’s going to be quite tolerant of inflation, it’s not going to cause them to raise rates prematurely or pull back on asset purchases,” Simons said.

The spread of the coronavirus was also a drag in some markets, with Singapore reporting the highest number of local infections in months and Taiwan seeing a spike in cases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 54.34 points, or 0.16%, to 34,327.79, the S&P 500 lost 10.56 points, or 0.25%, to 4,163.29 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 50.93 points, or 0.38%, to 13,379.05.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.05% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.09%.

In the Treasury market, the yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes was near flat at 1.65%, well below a spike to 1.77% in late March.

The dollar weakened slightly as inflation worries supported riskier currencies at the greenback’s expense.

The dollar index fell 0.082%, with the euro unchanged at $1.2151.

Bitcoin dropped to a three-month low after Tesla Inc boss Elon Musk suggested over the weekend that the electric automaker may have already sold some of its holdings in the digital currency. 

Oil prices climbed. Brent crude rose 1.1% to settle at $69.46 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 1.4% to settle at $66.27.

Spot gold jumped 1.3% to $1,866.84 per ounce, after hitting its highest since Feb. 1 at $1,868.26. 

Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by Simon Jessop in London; Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; and Herbert Lash and Stephen Culp in New York; editing by Kirsten Donovan, Nick Macfie, Ed Osmond, Cynthia Osterman, and Dan Grebler; Reuters

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