Greek uncertainty weighs on equities; inflation lifts euro
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks dipped on Tuesday while German bond yields rose as investors searched for clarity over whether a high-level meeting on Greece’s debt crisis might yield a significant breakthrough.
The euro rose nearly 2 percent against the dollar, after an above-forecast rise in euro zone inflation pushed the currency through the $1.10 resistance point.
Greece’s creditors are close to finishing a draft agreement to put to the leftist government in Athens, a source close to the talks said on Tuesday, injecting new momentum into long-running negotiations to release aid for the cash-strapped country.
Yannis Stournaras, the head of the Greek central bank, said an agreement between Athens and its creditors from the euro zone and International Monetary Fund to keep the country afloat was “not far away”.
“It is all revolving around the climactic situation in Europe,” said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York.
“I really think there is going to be some clarity to it today, they are going to push the envelope and that is what the market is focusing on.”
Athens is due to make a 300 million euro debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday.
U.S. stocks were modestly lower after economic data showed new orders for U.S. factory goods unexpectedly fell in April, the eight decline in the last nine months.
Investors were also closely watching the technical support level at the 50-day moving average for the S&P 500 at 2,099.54. The benchmark index touched a session low of 2,099.14 before rebounding.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 20.28 points, or 0.11 percent, to 18,020.09, the S&P 500 lost 2.22 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,109.51 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 6.01 points, or 0.12 percent, to 5,076.92.
MSCI’s all-country world index of the stock performance in 46 countries fell 0.11 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 stock index fell 0.77 percent. Germany’s DAX was down 0.87 percent, while the main Athens stock index slumped 2.47 percent.
Yields on safe-haven German 10-year bonds rose 14.7 basis points to 0.677 percent, while those on lower-rated Spanish, Italian and Portuguese debt touched their highest of the year after the data showing inflation resumed in the euro zone last month.
Prices in the euro zone rose 0.3 percent in May, beating forecasts of a 0.2 percent increase.
The euro was up 1.88 percent at $1.113 while the dollar was down 1.34 percent against a basket of major currencies.
The weaker dollar helped oil prices rise, along with expectations that OPEC producers would maintain their group production target at its current level and resist pressure for an increase. Brent crude was up 39 cents at $65.27 a barrel while U.S. crude advanced 62 cents at $60.82.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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