Picture: SUNDAY TIMES.
None Picture: SUNDAY TIMES.

New York — Stocks tumbled in many major markets around the world on Tuesday, while emerging-market currencies fell and the dollar rose as investors looked for safety as they braced for escalation in the trade conflict between the US and China.

Oil prices rose as Gulf of Mexico rigs were evacuated in preparation for a hurricane.

Emerging-market stocks and currencies were under added pressure on concerns about inflation in Turkey, and after data showed SA had slumped into recession in the second quarter.

US treasury yields rose as investors prepared for heavy corporate debt supply, and as falling Italian debt yields reduced safety demand for US government debt.

The public comment period on a US proposal for new tariffs on Chinese goods is set to end on Thursday. US President Donald Trump can then follow through on plans to impose levies on $200bn more of Chinese imports.

US-Canada trade talks ended on Friday with no deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) after Trump told Congress he would sign a bilateral trade pact with Mexico. "My sense would be that Trump is focused on Mexico, but he is not in any mood to compromise on Canada, Europe or China," said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 88.02 points, or 0.34%, to 25,876.8; the S&P 500 lost 11.15 points, or 0.38%, to 2,890.37; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 45.95 points, or 0.57%, to 8,063.59.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.75%. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.63% for its biggest one-day decline since August 15, weighed down by declines in Wall Street’s major indices and a drop in European stocks after China closed higher.

MSCI’s emerging market stocks index was down 0.7% and on track for its fifth straight day of declines.

In currencies, the South African rand was last down 2.7% against the dollar, while Turkey’s Lira was last down 1%.

The Canadian dollar weakened to a six-week low against its US counterpart amid an uncertain outlook for Canada’s trading arrangement with the US. The Canadian dollar fell 0.72% against the greenback at C$1.32.

A JPMorgan emerging-market currency index fell to its lowest since May 2017. The Turkish lira and the Mexican peso also slipped against the dollar. "We are just waiting for something to turn the emerging-market sentiment because the valuations look really attractive, but it’s just a slow meltdown at the moment," said Standard Life Aberdeen emerging-markets portfolio manager Viktor Szabo.

US benchmark 10-year notes last fell 14/32 in price to yield 2.904%, from 2.853% late on Friday. The 30-year bond last fell 37/32 in price to yield 3.0673%, from 3.009% late on Friday.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday after the evacuation of two Gulf of Mexico oil platforms in preparation for tropical storm Gordon, which is expected to come ashore as a hurricane. US crude rose 0.47% to $70.13 a barrel and Brent was last at $78.36, up 0.27% on the day.

Reuters

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