Shares ease on Greek exit fears; dollar gains

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equity markets eased on Monday on a dip in energy shares and fears a resolution to Greece’s financial woes is not in sight, leading the euro to weaken against the dollar.

A cut in Chinese interest rates initially lent support to Asian and some European shares, especially miners, as China is the world’s biggest consumer of copper and other metals.

But signs that U.S. shale oil production is recovering sent oil prices lower, causing the energy sector to weigh the most on the S&P 500. U.S. oil drillers added rigs to the Permian Basin in Texas for the first time this year, industry data showed last week.

Friday’s strong U.S. jobs report showing the U.S. economy was picking up steam had helped boost Wall Street by more than 1 percent, but that was old news by Monday, as investors again eyed potential implications of a Greek exit from the euro zone.

Greece paid about 750 million euros to the International Monetary Fund a day before it was due, two Greek finance ministry officials told Reuters, but it was not enough to stop worries over future payments.

“The market’s focus was distracted away from Greece last week with the U.K. elections and with the (U.S.) payroll data. The second that was out of the way, (investors) jumped on it,” said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.

Greek bond yields edged up as euro zone finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss a cash-for-reforms deal with Athens, which faces the first in a series of large debt repayments this week.

MSCI’s all-country world index of stock performance in 46 countries fell 0.31 percent, and key UK, German and French national stock indexes were lower. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up 0.31 percent to close at 1,595.64, lifted by financial stocks.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.94 points, or 0.47 percent, to 18,105.17. The S&P 500 slid 10.77 points, or 0.51 percent, to 2,105.33 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 9.98 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,993.57.

The U.S. dollar rose against the euro on renewed worries over a Greek exit from the euro zone.

The euro fell 0.45 percent to $1.1153, while the dollar rose 0.25 percent to 95.029 against a basket of six currencies. Against the yen, the greenback gained 0.27 percent to 120.11.

U.S. Treasury yields rose, boosted by a continued sell-off in German government bunds and as investors readied for the U.S. government to sell $64 billion in new debt this week.

Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last down 15/32 in price to yield 2.2834 percent. German 10-year note yields rose to 0.605 percent.

Oil slipped below $65 a barrel on signs that U.S. shale oil production was recovering after a recent price rally renewed concerns of a growing global supply glut.

Brent crude for June delivery fell 48 cents to settle at $64.91 a barrel. U.S. light crude for June delivery settled down 14 cents at $59.25 a barrel.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)

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