Mar 05, 2012, 09.32 PM | Source: Reuters
World stock prices slipped but the euro firmed from near two-week lows on Monday after fresh economic data raised expectations of a recession in Europe and China signaled slower growth ahead.
Nervousness over whether Greece will complete a bond swap with private creditors by Thursday March 8 as part of a deal to secure a 130 billion euro bailout and avoid a messy debt default also undermined demand for riskier assets.
Wall Street stocks opened slightly lower, following declines in European and Asian stock markets, while a measure of equity performance in emerging markets fell more than 1.0%.
"We are clearly looking at lower growth in Europe and China (and) as predicted, problems in Greece again," said Steve Larkins, head of sales and trading at Seymour Pierce. "The fundies (fund managers) are more than happy to sit on their hands rather than expose themselves further."
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 23.31 points, or 0.18%, at 12,954.26. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.29 points, or 0.24%, at 1,366.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 6.40 points, or 0.21%, at 2,969.79.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.3% at 1,083.53 points, recouping some earlier losses.
But the euro was slightly higher, climbing about 0.2% to USD 1.3220 after falling to near its two-week low around USD 1.3172.
A downward revision to eurozone surveys of purchasing managers' assessments for February wiped out much of the positive effects of last week's European Central Bank injection of three-year funding into the banks.
Brent crude rebounded above USD 124 a barrel on fears that Iranian sanctions are limiting supply, offsetting a cut in China's economic growth target and a boost in oil production by Iraq.
Brent crude oil futures for April rose 64 cents to USD 124.29 a barrel. April crude gained 29 cents to USD 106.99.