Stocks stall, oil cools, Evergrande and lira mauled

Yen jumps as Nikkei falls 1.9%

  
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 6, 2021.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 6, 2021.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

LONDON- World stocks slipped on Thursday as the upbeat mood that carried the Dow Jones and bitcoin to records a day earlier fizzled out, while a pause in the oil rally stalled rising global bond yields.

Other major action saw Turkey's lira backflip to new lows after the country's central bank slashed interest rates again and default-threatened China Evergrande's shares plunged 11.5% after a $2.6 billion stake sale fell through. 

Other risk and commodity-sensitive currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars and South African rand also hit the skids, giving the safe-haven Japanese yen a rare lift after it had fallen to a four-year low versus the dollar. 

"There is little bit of risk aversion," said Societe Generale's Kit Juckes, who pointed to the higher yen and the fact that both European stocks and Wall Street S&P 500 futures were both in the red.

On the lira's woes, veteran emerging market watcher Tim Ash at BlueBay said the message Turkey's central bank head had delivered with the rate cut was, "I listen to Erdogan and no one else. Screw you guys!"

Commodities also eased, with Brent crude futures down 1.2% after touching a three-year top and Chinese coal futures extending a sharp pullback after Beijing had signalled it would intervene to cool prices.

"The U.S. stock market has gone up for six days in a row, bitcoin's made a record and the U.S. bond market is calm. On the surface it looks benign," said Andrew Ticehurst, a rates strategist at Nomura in Sydney.

"But below the surface, we are uncomfortable about a number of things," he added, chiefly the slowdown in China's economy seen in data earlier this week and concerns about potential fallout from Evergrande's troubles. 

Evergrande will default on $19 billion of international market bonds if it doesn't make an already overdue coupon payment by Monday. It would the biggest ever Chinese default and one of the world's largest too. Lehman Brothers' collapse added up to $35 billion.

Late on Wednesday, Evergrande confirmed it had abandoned plans to sell a $2.6 billion stake in its property services unit. Its shares ended down 11.5% in Hong Kong. Rival developer Kaisa, which was the first Chinese firm to default in 2015, was seeing its bonds hammered again too as worries mount about its fate.

It wasn't all bad news though. Financial news provider REDD reported that Evergrande had secured an extension on one of its lower-profile bonds.

Shares in some other Chinese developers also drew support after a number of top Chinese officials had given reassurances that the troubles would not be allowed to spin out of control. .SS

TALKING TURKEY

Turkey's lira dropped 2% against the dollar and was by far the worst performer in FX markets as the central bank cut interest rates down to 16% from 18%. 

The policy rate had been cut by a percentage point last month, with the lira already on a run of record lows, after another major ousting of policymakers underlined worries about the bank's independence from the government.

"We have seen strong outflows from debt in the last three weeks, probably due to uncertainty with the currency and increased risk perception," IIF economist Jonathan Fortun told Reuters. 

Wall Street futures were down 0.3% after a blizzard of earnings had helped the Dow Jones touch an all-time high on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 finishing within touching distance of a record too.

The VIX volatility index, sometimes referred to as Wall Street's "fear gauge", also ticked up having dropped to a two-month low the previous day.

But a soft finish on the Nasdaq had flowed through to tech-stock selling in Tokyo which fell 1.9% and in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng fell 0.5%.

In the government bond markets that drive global borrowing costs, longer-dated U.S. Treasury yields were just starting to stir again steadied after rising with inflation and growth expectations on Wednesday.

After a groggy start, the benchmark 10-year U.S. yield was nudged the previous day's five-month high of 1.6730% again, while Germany's 10-year yield, the benchmark for Europe, was fractionally higher at a still negative -0.10%.

"The strong focus on the volatile (bond) curve environment in the euro area looks set to stay, at least until next week's ECB Governing Council meeting," UniCredit analysts told clients.

Investors have figured that surging energy prices and tightening job markets will pressure top central banks such as the U.S. Fed and ECB to either raise interest rates or at least rein in the stimulus.

Fed funds futures: have priced a 25 basis point U.S. rate hike in the third quarter of 2022 while eurodollar markets expect higher rates as soon as the second quarter: .

 (Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Alex Richardson and Ramakrishnan M.) ((marc.jones@thomsonreuters.com; +44 (0)20 7513 4042; Reuters Messaging: marc.jones.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net Twitter @marcjonesrtrs))


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