Wall Street stocks mostly fell Friday amid lingering unease over tightening US monetary policy, while the euro gyrated ahead of France’s presidential election.
Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq retreated as the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note climbed above 2.7 percent, a signal markets are preparing for more Federal Reserve monetary tightening.
All three major US indices notched losses for the week.
“Uneasiness and trepidation appeared to drive a relatively quiet session as investors continued to weigh the potential implications of a highly aggressive Fed monetary policy tightening cycle,” Charles Schwab investment bank said in a note.
The euro sank as low to $1.0837 before bouncing back, a reflection of uncertainty ahead of Sunday’s first-round French presidential vote.
The single currency has also been dented by European officials’ reticence to move as aggressively as the Fed on tackling soaring inflation.
The volatility in the euro comes as polls show a tight race by French President Emmanuel Macron and his main election rival, far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
The president is projected to come out on top in Sunday’s first round of voting, but far short of the majority needed to avoid a run-off between the top two candidates on April 24 — and with Le Pen close behind.
The euro would experience a “knee-jerk” drop of about 1.5 percent in its value against the dollar if Le Pen ultimately is elected, and then will “continue falling,” Wells Fargo bank said in a note.
“Even if Le Pen wins the presidency, her party is very unlikely to garner a working parliamentary majority, but ousting or even weakening Macron could be a blow to EU integration and economic policy,” Wells Fargo said.
The lower euro helped boost bourses in Paris and Frankfurt, both of which rose more than one percent.
“Today’s positive session for European markets appears to have more to do with the fact that the strength of the US dollar has pushed both the pound and the euro lower, with the pound falling to its lowest levels since November 2020,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.
– Key figures around 2050 GMT –
New York – Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 34,721.12 (close)
New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.3 percent at 4,488.28 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 1.3 percent at 13,711.00 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 1.6 percent at 7,669.56 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX: UP 1.5 percent at 14,283.67 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.3 percent at 6,548.22 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.4 percent at 3,858.37 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 26,985.80 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 0.3 percent at 21,872.01 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,251.85 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0878 from $1.0879 late Thursday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3036 from $1.3075
Euro/pound: UP at 83.43 pence from 83.20 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 124.30 yen from 123.95 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.2 percent at $102.78 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.3 percent at $98.26 per barrel