US equity futures fell, wiping out earlier gains, and declines in European stocks were led by banks as concerns about the stability of the sector gripped traders before the weekend. With a risk-averse mood spreading through markets, bonds and the dollar rallied.
(Bloomberg) — US equity futures fell, wiping out earlier gains, and declines in European stocks were led by banks as concerns about the stability of the sector gripped traders before the weekend. With a risk-averse mood spreading through markets, bonds and the dollar rallied.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid for a second day as a gauge of banks wiped out the last of its gains from the start of the week. Deutsche Bank AG slumped 15%, the most since March 2020. Contracts on the S&P 500 sank 0.7%, while those on the Nasdaq 100 slid 0.4% after the underlying gauge approached the threshold of a bull market Thursday.
UBS Group AG shares dropped as Bloomberg reported that it’s one of the banks under scrutiny in a US Justice Department probe into whether financial professionals helped Russian oligarchs evade sanctions, according to people familiar with the matter.
Traders remained wary of problems in the banking sector that have built up during the Federal Reserve’s rapid hiking cycle. US lenders slumped Thursday even after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers she was prepared for further steps to protect deposits if needed. A measure of US financial heavyweights sank to the lowest since November 2020.
“Confidence is fragile, market volatility is likely to stay high, and policymakers may have to go further to make sure faith in the global financial system stays solid,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management. “Financial conditions are also likely to tighten, which increases the risk of a hard landing for the economy, even if central banks ease off on interest-rate hikes.”
Treasury yields fell amid the haven buying, with the two-year down 26 basis points, while those on German and UK 10-year notes dropped more than 15 points.
The dollar headed higher after weakening in the previous six sessions. The yen advanced to the highest in six weeks, boosted by demand for haven assets. Crude oil slumped as the renewed concerns over financial sector stability boosted the dollar. Gold gained.
Investors are fleeing to cash in the biggest rush since the onset of the pandemic as concerns of an economic slowdown mount, according to Bank of America Corp. strategists who see equity and credit markets slumping in coming months.
“Credit and stock markets too greedy for rate cuts, not fearful enough of recession,” a team led by Michael Hartnett wrote in a note. The strategist, who was correctly bearish through last year, said investment-grade spreads and stocks will be taking a hit over the next three to six months. Global cash funds had inflows of nearly $143 billion, the largest since March 2020 in the week through Wednesday — adding up to more than $300 billion over the past four weeks, according to the note citing EPFR Global data.
Investors confronting the twin concerns of fragility in the banking sector and the threat of further interest-rate increases by central banks received evidence Friday that more tightening could be in store. Resilient euro-zone economic data suggested European Central Bank policymakers have more work to do to subdue inflation.
Key events this week:
- Eurozone S&P Global Eurozone Manufacturing PMI, S&P Global Eurozone Services PMI, Friday
- US durable goods, Friday
Some of the main moves in markets:
- S&P 500 futures fell 0.7% as of 6:24 a.m. New York time
- Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.4%
- Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8%
- The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.6%
- The MSCI World index fell 0.6%
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.5%
- The euro fell 0.9% to $1.0735
- The British pound fell 0.6% to $1.2213
- The Japanese yen rose 0.7% to 129.92 per dollar
- Bitcoin fell 1% to $28,053.82
- Ether fell 1.7% to $1,787.47
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined 12 basis points to 3.30%
- Germany’s 10-year yield declined 17 basis points to 2.03%
- Britain’s 10-year yield declined 20 basis points to 3.16%
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 3.6% to $67.43 a barrel
- Gold futures rose 0.3% to $2,019.30 an ounce
This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.
–With assistance from Tassia Sipahutar, Brett Miller and Michael Msika.
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