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Stocks Drop as Risk-Off Takes Hold

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December 6, 2017

European shares tracked declines across Asia and U.S. stocks looked poised to open lower as investors continued to lock in 2017 gains amid a broad risk-off mood. The dollar steadied and Treasuries climbed as focus turns to efforts to avert a U.S. government shutdown on Saturday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped a second day led by chemicals and automakers, and S&P 500 futures pointed to a slightly lower open as payroll data from the ADP Research Institute matched forecasts. In Asia, Japanese equities fell sharply as the yen rose, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped. Most European bonds followed the U.S. benchmark higher. Sterling weakened as efforts to rescue Brexit talks appeared to stumble. The euro drifted even after an unexpected rise in German factory orders showed Europe’s largest economy will carry its strong momentum into 2018.

Global markets have succumbed to a bout of profit taking this week as traders move out of some of 2017’s biggest winners, including technology shares and emerging-market equities. The selloff comes as investors assess U.S. tax reform developments and wrangling over the American debt ceiling after a Republican plan to avoid a federal shutdown on Saturday were thrown into disarray by infighting.

Investors are “locking in profits earlier than usual for the year and not opening any new positions,” said Andrew Clarke, director of trading at Mirabaud (Asia) Ltd. “Eventually, as profit taking subsides, buying for the new year will appear as people look toward 2018.”

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This article was posted: Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

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