US stocks fall on profit-taking; euro falls

 01 Mar 2016 - 7:51

US stocks fall on profit-taking; euro falls

New York: US stocks finished a choppy session lower Monday in a move attributed to profit-taking after mostly gains in the last two weeks.

In Europe markets were stronger, but the euro fell on data showing the return of negative inflation and heightened expectations of another rate cut by the European Central Bank.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.8 percent to finish the month of February slightly negative. 

"There's been some profit-taking as we had a good two-week run," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

"Selling has brought more selling as a lot of traders are really poised to take profits at any fundamental pullback."

Another factor was the closing of the trading books for February, which can sometimes spark unexpected trading outcomes. Leading oil producers such as ExxonMobil fell even though US oil prices climbed 3.0 percent.

Equities in Asia fell after a meeting of the G20 group of top economic nations concluded without any major initiatives to support world growth. China's Shanghai index fell 2.9 percent, while Tokyo shed 1.0 percent.

Analysts said the lackluster G20 outcome also hung over European markets.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index ended the session down 0.2 percent while Paris added 0.9 percent and London's FTSE 100 index was barely changed.

The euro fell sharply against the dollar and the yen after eurozone data showed a drop to negative 0.2 percent inflation in February.

The weak data "put the fork in expectations for the ECB to cut interest rates or take other extraordinary action to keep the bloc's economy from tipping sharply lower," said Joe Manimbo of Western Union Business Solutions.

British metals producers advanced, with Anglo American climbing 6.6 percent and Glencore rising 3.9 percent.

Shares of Japan's number-two automaker Nissan jumped 5.5 percent after it announced plans to buy back as much as $3.5 billion in company shares.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals plunged 18.4 percent following reports that it is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Earlier, Valeant announced that Michael Pearson had resumed as chief executive following a bout of severe pneumonia and that it was withdrawing its financial forecast due to a review of its accounting decisions.

In the US, biotech shares were under pressure, with Amgen, Celgene and Gilead Sciences all declining. 

Large banks were also weak, with JPMorgan Chase dropping 2.2 percent and Citigroup 1.7 percent.

- Key figures at 2200 GMT -
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.7 percent at 16,516.50 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.8 percent at 1,932.23 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,557.95 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP less than 0.1 percent at 6,097.09 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 9,495.40 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 4,353.55 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 percent at 2,945.75 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.0 percent at 16,026.76 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 2.9 percent at 2,687.98 (close) 

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.3 percent at 19,111.93 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0876 from $1.0935 on Friday 

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.59 yen from 113.97 yen