The euro fell sharply versus Swiss franc on Monday and safe-haven U.S. and German government bond yields hit new lows after much weaker than expected growth numbers from Japan added to worries over a faltering global economic recovery.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 lost 0.4 percent, while U.S. stock index futures were flat to down 0.2 percent, pointing to a softer start for Wall Street.
Benchmark 10-year Germany yields hit a record low of 2.362 percent, while yields on 10-year U.S. government bonds fell 4 basis points to 2.6411 percent after touching a 16-month low of 2.638.
The yield on 30-year Treasury bonds also reached a 16-month low of 3.799 percent.
What has been driving sentiment for a little while now has been this concern about the loss of momentum in the global recovery, said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist and head of research at Brewin Dolphin in London.
The GDP figures out of Japan this morning clearly didn't help. For the balance of the month, we are probably not going to go anywhere. The earnings season was very good but it's behind us now.
The fall in Treasury yields has been a big factor weighing on the U.S. currency against the yen, because of the high recent correlation between dollar/yen and Treasury yields.
The dollar eased 0.7 percent to 85.66 yen. Against a basket of major currencies, the greenback was down 0.4 percent, after rising in the previous five sessions.
The euro fell 0.8 percent versus the franc at 1.3297. However, the single currency was up around 0.5 percent at $1.2812.
GERMANY VS THE REST
The problem for the euro is that growth is rather concentrated in Germany, with the periphery still struggling, said analyst at Credit Agricole CIB in a client note.
The premium investors demand to hold 10-year Irish and Greek government bonds rather than Germany Bunds rose, and the cost of insuring their debt against default also increased.
Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6 percent, recovering from an early drop of as much as 1.7 percent after gross domestic product grew just 0.1 percent in the second quarter compared to forecasts of 0.6 percent.
World stocks measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index, however, were flat, after falling for four days in a row.
There is nothing to cheer about, said Koen De Leus, economist at KBC Securities. Economic figures, certainly in the United States, are really disappointing and pointing toward going more and more close to a double dip. This time, it doesn't hurt to be little bit cautious.
European numbers on Friday gave a bullish outlook on growth for Germany but not necessarily many other euro zone economies facing stringent budget cuts in the second half of this year. Corporate earnings in the recent season have generally been good but the market's biggest concern is the stumbling U.S. economy.
In terms of valuations, MSCI Europe is looking cheaper than U.S. S&P 500, Japan's TOPIX and MSCI emerging markets benchmark.
MSCI Europe carried a one-year forward price-to-earnings of 10.7, compared with 12.36 for S&P 500, 14.05 for TOPIX and 10.8 for MSCI emerging markets index, Thomson Reuters DataStream showed. In the commodity market, copper advanced 1 percent, helped by lower inventories and a weaker dollar. Crude prices rose 0.4 percent, snapping a four-day losing run.
(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash, Neal Armstrong and Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Toby Chopra)