European Gains Boost World Markets: Daily Markets Wrap

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

European and U.S. stocks rose Tuesday as negative sentiment the day before gave way to an upbeat, risk-on sentiment, despite weak economic news from the United States.

The mood change came when the Dutch prime minister, now in a temporary caretaker role, appealed to the country's Parliament to solve the budget impasse before new elections were called. Almost immediately Monday's downward correction appeared overblown and equities rose while bond prices fell.

In the U.S., consumer confidence slipped in April, sales of new homes fell last month and home prices declined in February. 

Here's a look at how the markets fared:

Stocks. Asian stocks rose, and European equities recovered most of the previous day's losses, with the exception of Germany, where the benchmark DAX was up just 1.03 percent after having lost more than 3 percent on Monday. U.S. issues closed higher. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average, lifted by strong earnings from component companies AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), was up 0.58 percent for the day. In contract, the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite closed down 0.30 percent, but telecommunications stocks led the broader S&P 500 higher.

Bonds. The Treasury yield curve steepened as investors moved their cash out of long-term Treasury bonds. The yield on the benchmark 10-year T-note rose to 1.97 percent. German bonds also sold off. Yields on other European sovereigns all dropped on changed market sentiment. Italian bonds had a particularly good day, dropping 15 basis points to yield 5.682 percent. Corporate bonds rallied.

Currencies. The dollar dropped in comparison to most world currencies, with the dollar index falling 0.16 percent. The euro and British pound rose slightly against the greenback, but it was two of the other more important European currencies, the Polish zloty and the Swiss franc, that truly shone. The Japanese yen which, much to the chagrin of exporters in that nation, has been appreciating against world currencies in good days and bad, finally caught a break.

Commodities. Physical commodities appreciated on the weaker dollar. A barrel of light, sweet crude oil for June delivery rose 48 cents to $103.59 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. An ounce of gold rose $10 to settle at $1,642.60. Agricultural commodities underperformed, in a pattern that is now becoming common to commodities traders.

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