U.S. equities edged lower as investors awaited fresh catalysts on trade and monetary policy. The dollar advanced for a sixth day and oil fell.
Energy producers led losses on the S&P 500 Index as reports showed the U.S. trade deficit widened in 2018 to a 10-year high and private companies added fewer jobs than analysts forecast last month. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index spiked, the euro briefly fell to a session low and most European bonds rose after a report that central bank officials are poised to cut their economic forecasts by enough to justify another round of loans for banks.
Canada’s dollar extended losses after the Bank of Canada toned down its conviction that interest rates will need to go higher. The pound slipped on speculation U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May could be in for another bruising vote in Parliament on Brexit, and the Australian dollar sank after disappointing economic data spurred bets on interest-rate cuts.
U.S. firms hired at a slower pace in February after strong January
Trade remains high on investors’ agenda, with President Donald Trump said to be pressuring U.S. negotiators to cut a deal with China soon in hope of fueling a market rally. Meanwhile, falling bond yields reflect traders taking a more cautious stance as Morgan Stanley predicted benchmark Treasury yields will drop as low as 2.35 percent by the end of the year. Traders will also get plenty to ponder from the European Central Bank’s policy decision and the monthly U.S. jobs report later in the week.
Elsewhere, Chinese shares outperformed and Japanese equities dropped. Commodities were led lower by oil after an industry report showed a bigger-than-expected buildup in U.S. crude stockpiles. Emerging-market stocks climbed for a fourth day. Turkey’s lira weakened after the country’s central bank held its policy rate unchanged.