Down Under, the Australian dollar fell to its lowest rate since December after the government released data showing that the country's deficit grew more than expected. This came after the country's Reserve Bank recently reduced its benchmark interest rate more than expected.
Natural gas, which has been trading near 10-year-lows since March, may be rebounding. The King Midas of energy, T. Boone Pickens, told a crowd in Los Angeles that he expected natural gas to be above $3 by this time next year because producers have been cutting output.
Stocks. The three major U.S. indexes followed Europe's bourses down. Losers included McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD), as sales from the Oakbrook, Ill., fast food giant were lower than expected, and Redwood City, Calif.-based Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), the No. 2 computer game maker, because its quarter and annual forecasts were lower than expected. Winners included generator-manufacturer Generac Holdings Inc. from Waukesha, Wis., whose stock rose by more than 25 percent after the company reported robust revenue growth.
Bonds. A $32-billion three-year note auction was well received in the U.S. as investors sought shelter from stocks and the euro. The yield for the notes was the lowest since February. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note struck the lowest level since February as investors sought safe harbor from the euro zone storm. Japanese bonds were also in high demand, sending their yield to an 18-month low. Spanish and Italian yields surged.
Currencies. The euro fell to a five-month low. The currency briefly dipped to just below $1.30 before rebounding. The currency hasn't closed below $1.30 since January. Meanwhile the dollar rose for a seventh consecutive day. The yen also gained slightly while the British pound was down following Monday's bank holiday.
Commodities. Precious metals continued their slide as investors chose dollars and bonds instead. Gold declined to its lowest price this year, $1,606.90. Silver and copper fell more than 2 percent while platinum was down over 1 percent. Benchmark crude oil prices were down for a fifth day running as concerns over a global slowdown were heightened.