Global stocks slipped Wednesday and bonds rose slightly as investors worried about the global economy, with disappointing data releases souring the mood across financial markets.
The MSCI World stock index was down 0.31% Wednesday morning. US futures slipped after stocks fell sharply on Tuesday following the release of data showing consumer confidence fell to a 16-month low in June.
Global stocks have dropped sharply this year as inflation has surged around the world, forcing central banks to rapidly cut back on their support for economies by hiking interest rates and ending their huge bond-buying programmes.
Worries about growth have returned to the forefront of investors’ minds after data on Tuesday showed that consumer confidence in both the US and Europe has deteriorated sharply.
“It’s been another volatile 24 hours in markets, with a succession of weak data releases raising further questions about how close the US and Europe might be to a
,” Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank said.
Particularly worrying for US investors was The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which dropped to a 16-month low of 98.7, when analysts had been expecting a smaller decline to 100.
The S&P 500 stock index dropped 2.01% Tuesday, bringing its rebound from recent lows to an end.
Global bond prices rose slightly Wednesday as investors moved into the safe-haven assets. The yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note, which moves inversely to the price, fell just under a basis point to 3.171%.
Despite the risks to economic growth, investors expect central banks to press on with interest-rate hikes as they try to tame the strongest inflation in decades.
Chair Jerome Powell, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey are all due to speak at an ECB event in Portugal later Wednesday, which will be closely watched by traders.
“With the consumer being central to US economic growth, the recent raft of pessimistic readings has led to some concerns that sentiment could become self-fulfilling as consumers hunker down in the face of higher prices, especially fuel and food,” Richard Hunter, head of markets at trading platform Interactive Investor, said.
“The Federal Reserve will of course be aware of the deteriorating sentiment, but for the moment is showing no signs of abandoning its primary objective of battling inflation head-on.”
The latest US gross domestic product data is due out later Wednesday, and is expected to confirm a 1.5% annualized decline for the first quarter.
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