A man is reflected an electronic board showing currency exchange rates at a money exchange in Buenos Aires
A man is reflected on an electronic board showing currency exchange rates at a money exchange in Buenos Aires November 23, 2011. REUTERS

China's surprisingly big February trade deficit numbers Monday cut into commodity prices and other growth-sensitive securities.

The world's second-largest economy booked its largest monthly trade deficit in February since 1989. Whereas analysts expected a trade surplus of $5.4 billion, China posted a deficit of $27.3 billion.

Wall Street's bull market is entering its fourth year this week. So far this year markets are off to a strong start: the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 5 percent; the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite is up 14 percent; and the S&P 500 is up 9 percent.

Stocks. Asian stocks were mostly lower and European stocks closed fractionally higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained for the fourth day in a row, but the Dow Jones Transportation Average closed down.

Bonds. Portugal's 10-year bonds drew a 13.7 percent yield. French yields gained slightly, while German yields dipped fractionally. Benchmark Treasury yields climbed to 2.03 percent after an auction of three-year notes drew a tepid response. It was the first time Treasury prices rose in four sessions.

Currencies. The dollar declined 0.24 percent against a basket of six rival currencies, including the yen, but alternated over and under the euro, all within a tight range. The currencies of Brazil, Chile and Mexico closed lower, as did Canada's dollar.

Commodities. Crude oil closed down 1 percent, copper settled lower after a three-session rally and gold on the Comex was off, just pennies below $1,700. Agricultural commodities were mixed, with coffee, lean hogs, soybeans and lumber down and corn, live cattle, sugar and wheat up.