Picture: 123RF/bluebay
Picture: 123RF/bluebay

US equities slipped as investors awaited new catalysts on trade and monetary policy. The dollar advanced for a sixth day and oil slumped.

Energy producers led losses on the S&P 500 index as reports showed the US trade deficit widened in 2018 to a 10-year high and private companies added fewer jobs than analysts forecast in February. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed, 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.

The pound slipped on speculation UK 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.

Trade remains high on investors’ agendas, with US President Donald Trump said to be pressuring US negotiators to agree on a deal with China soon in hope of fuelling 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% by the end of 2019. Traders will also get plenty to ponder from the European Central Bank’s policy decision and the monthly US 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 US 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.