World Economy
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World Stocks Plunge on Rising Bond Yields

The bond market braced for potentially hawkish language from the Federal Reserve, which will begin its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday
Australian stocks shed 0.9%, South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.9% and Shanghai 0.8%.  Japan’s Nikkei was the stand-out as it dropped 1.4%.Australian stocks shed 0.9%, South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.9% and Shanghai 0.8%.  Japan’s Nikkei was the stand-out as it dropped 1.4%.

World stocks were in their biggest two-day dive in six months on Tuesday and commodities were also jammed in reverse, as rising US borrowing costs cooled financial markets' euphoric start to the year. The move above 2.7% by US Treasury yields—the benchmark for world lending rates—helped the dollar off the canvas though that was part of the issue.

Oil slid back below $70, metals buckled and Asian stocks saw their biggest fall since early December after Wall Street had suffered its largest drop in five months after worries about Apple's iPhone sales, Reuters reported.

Despite an easing of yields in Europe, its stocks duly followed. The pan-regional STOXX 600 dropped 0.5% as traders took aim at cyclical sectors like mining and financials after their strong run this month.

"The big picture view is that the rising US yields have finally come to the dollar's rescue," said Societe Generale strategist Alvin Tan. "It didn't respond for weeks but as yields have broken above 2.7%, it finally has."

The rise in treasury yields leaves them at the highest since mid-2014 though the move had been paused in Europe as lower-than-forecast early German inflation numbers had nudged its borrowing costs lower.

Moreover, the bond market braced for potentially hawkish language from the Federal Reserve, which will begin its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. Focus was also on US President Donald Trump's State of the Union address scheduled later in the day, with attention on his views on an infrastructure overhaul and trade.

Currencies Fall

The dollar's rebound meant the euro fell for a second day. It eased 0.3% to $1.2373 having hit three-year high of $1.254 last week. Data was still upbeat though with France's economy rounding off its strongest year since 2011.

Britain's pound also came under renewed pressure, falling back to $1.40 again, as Brexit tensions continued to hound the UK government and its leader Theresa May.

Russian stocks edged higher as they shrugged off the risk of possible new sanctions from a newly published US list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin. The list includes a wide circle of wealthy Russians though they run some of the country's biggest companies, including the heads of Russia's two biggest banks Sberbank and VTB, metals magnates and the boss of state gas monopoly Gazprom.

Most Asian currencies had fallen overnight as the rise in bond yields lifted the dollar.  MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.1% too, but after a string of all-time highs, it was still on track for a 6.5% monthly gain.

Australian stocks shed 0.9%, South Korea's KOSPI lost 1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.9% and Shanghai 0.8%. Japan's Nikkei was the stand-out as it dropped 1.4%.

The bearish sentiment in Asia followed a softer lead from Wall Street, which has led a global equities rally over the past year thanks to strong world growth fuelling higher corporate earnings and stock valuations.

Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares fell 1.6% to their lowest close in more than a week, with industrials, real estates and financials weighing the index down. SM Investments Corp dropped 2.9%, while Ayala Corp lost 3.1%.

Indonesia was also down 1.6% at a one-week closing low on broad-based selling. Singapore shares closed down 0.8% at their lowest since January 18 as financials and industrials dragged the index lower.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd edged down 1.2%, while Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd lost 1.3%.

Thai shares closed 0.6% down, weighed down by energy, real estate and financial stocks. Malaysia and Vietnam ended flat.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index declined 1.4% to 1,520.75. Heavyweights Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing lost at least 2.1% each. The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies dropped 1.4%.

Hong Kong-shares of Chinese social-media major Tencent Holdings declined 2.1% and real-estate developer Sunac China Holdings edged 0.1% lower. The two companies, along with retailing majors JD.com and Suning Holdings Group, will buy a 14% stake from existing shareholders in Wanda Commercial for 34 billion yuan ($5.37 billion), Dalian Wanda Commercial Property said late Monday.

On Monday, US stocks pulled back from record highs, with the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes marking their biggest one-day percentage declines in about five months, weighed down by a slide in Apple shares on reports of poor iPhone X demand.

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