A steep drop in European equities dominated momentum across continents and asset classes Monday, prompting investors to unload all manner of stocks and commodities for cash. The movement was attributed to a combination of tepidly negative economic headlines, as well as a few unsettling political developments in France and the Netherlands.
Yet in spite of causing significant price shifts, the movement did not cause a massive surge into dollars and Treasuries, the telltale signs of panic, suggesting the equity and commodity selloff was more a technical correction in an overheated market than a change in fundamentals.
Before the New York trading session started but well after the carnage in Europe's stock markets had set the day's tone, Dennis Gartman, publisher of a well-respected investment newsletter, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as stating Monday's trading session showed the upward trend in European stocks seen earlier this year was definitely broken.
Here's a look at how the markets fared:
Stocks. Mixed manufacturing information from China led Asian issues to a muted start, but markets across the region fell off a cliff once early-morning European futures indicated it was going to get ugly. The European selloff, which was wide and deep, was attributed to weak economic data and political uncertainty in core euro zone nations. Financial services firms cut stock indexes in Sweden, Italy, Spain and, notably, Germany more than 3 percent.The benchmark S&P 500 Index fell 0.84 percent to 1,366.94.
Bonds. U.S. Treasurys edged up, with benchmark 10-year yields sliding to 1.937 percent. German bunds rallied. Corporate bonds were slightly up, with investment-grade notes once again outperforming junk issues. On news the European Central Bank was not buying national debt, Spanish, Italian and Dutch debt fell hard. Yields on Spanish benchmark deuda rose to 5.979 percent, a skip away from the unsustainable -- and psychologically significant -- 6 percent mark.
Currencies. The dollar was up on a muted rally, and was actually outperformed by several other major currencies including the Japanese yen and the U.K. pound. The euro dropped to $1.3154.
Commodities. Metals and energy products fell, with light, sweet crude oil for June New York delivery off 77 cents to $103.11. Gold dropped $9.80 to $1,633 per ounce. Natural gas and certain agricultural commodities -- like corn and lean hogs -- that have seen steep drops lately rose on technical trading.