NEW YORK: Stock indexes were lower globally on Monday with technology shares on Wall Street falling, while US Treasury yields traded little changed even after a report showing the highest prices ever paid in a May manufacturing survey for New York state.
Concerns over inflationary pressure helped to lift gold prices to their highest in more than three months, however.
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.
Wall Street’s declines 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 of an economic rebound.
“The volatility has picked up because a lot of the good news has been priced in, and last week we finally saw fears of inflation,” said Greg Marcus, managing director, UBS Private Wealth Management.
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 120.02 points, or 0.35 percent, to 34,262.11, the S&P 500 lost 20.43 points, or 0.49 percent, to 4,153.42 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 121.39 points, or 0.9 percent, to 13,308.58.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.05 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.26 percent.
In the Treasury market, the yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury notes was up 1 basis point at 1.645 percent, below a spike to 1.77 percent in late March.
The dollar was steady near recent lows as new restrictions in Asia to contain COVID-19 supported safe-haven currencies, while bitcoin extended its slide.
The dollar index fell 0.116 percent, with the euro up 0.12 percent at $1.2154.
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 edged higher. Brent crude rose 56 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $69.27 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 63 cents, or 1 percent, at $66.
In China, meanwhile, retail sales rose 17.7 percent in April from a year earlier, although they fell short of forecasts for a jump of 24.9 percent, while industrial output matched expectations with a rise of 9.8 percent.
Gold prices climbed to their highest in more than three months on Monday. Spot gold jumped 1.3 percent to $1,866.45 per ounce, after hitting its highest since Feb. 1 at $1,867.15. US gold futures gained 1.5 percent to $1,866.40.
“There’s a flight to safety out of the equity markets ... and anticipation that we’re going to continue to see inflation numbers trend much stronger going forward,” said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments.
“The Fed is going to continue to hold on to the notion that the increase in inflation has to do more with the reopening of the economies than to do with any real inflation,” Sica said.
Gold is seen as a hedge against rising inflation. On a technical note, the gold market has breached the 200-day moving average and that’s supporting prices further, said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
Elsewhere, platinum rose 0.7 percent to $1,234 per ounce.