US stocks fluctuate, bonds rise as dollar slips

US stocks fluctuated about one per cent below all-time highs, while oil fell toward $48 a barrel. The dollar slipped and treasuries advanced as investors digested fresh signs that the US intends to rewrite the terms of global trade. The S&P 500 Index was lower while technology- heavy equity indexes advanced. The 10-year treasury yield fell to 2.48 per cent.

Crude’s ninth retreat in the past 11 days dragged oil and gas producers lower. The pound was little changed after reversing earlier gains, as the UK said it will trigger the process to leave the European Union on March 29.

Gold touched the highest level in two weeks. According to Bloomberg, investor focus on Monday turned to the outcome of a Group of 20 meeting, where finance ministers locked heads before issuing a statement that dropped a reference to resist all forms of protectionism.

That’s renewing concerns about the US president’s desire to pursue new trading terms. The US currency slumped last week after the Federal Reserve delivered a more dovish message than expected, even as it raised interest rates. “As the world’s number one is preparing to set significant barriers against the world, investors are increasingly worried,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a market analyst at London Capital Group, wrote in a note.

“The uncertainties regarding the US’s relationship with the rest of the world” are weighing on equity traders’ sentiment, he said. The S&P 500 fell 0.1 per cent to 2,376.19 in New York. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.1 per cent, while small-caps in the Russell 2000 Index fell 0.5 per cent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1 per cent, with oil and gas companies down 0.9 per cent.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index added 0.8 per cent, headed for a seventh straight gain in its longest run since August. Bloomberg’s dollar index fell 0.1 per cent, headed for a fourth straight loss.

The euro climbed 0.1 per cent to $1.0752, while the British pound was little changed at $1.2393. The yield on 10-year Treasuries slipped two basis points to 2.48 per cent after falling four basis points last Friday. German bonds climbed one basis point to 0.45 per cent.

French 10-year bond yields were also two basis points higher to 1.12 per cent ahead of the televised election debate this evening. West Texas Intermediate crude slid 1.4 per cent to $48.11 a barrel. It has dropped 11 per cent this month, heading for the steepest one-month slide since July.

Gold pared a gain of as much as 0.5 per cent, with futures trading up 0.2 per cent to $1,232 an ounce to head for a fourth day of gains. Base metals fell on the London Metal Exchange, with copper for delivery in three months down 0.2 per cent and nickel retreating 0.7 per cent.

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