Asia shares inch ahead, hostage to Fed outlook – The Fiscal Times

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian share markets crept higher on Tuesday as Tokyo scored another 15-year peak, though gains were hostage to what Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen might say later in the day about the likely lift-off date for U.S. rate hikes.

Moves were mostly modest and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.16 percent. The Nikkei dithered either side of flat before ending up 0.5 percent for a fifth session of increases.European bourses were expected to open a shade softer as time ticks away for Greece to deliver a list of reforms after missing the initial deadline on Monday.Oil prices tried to steady after their latest retreat, with U.S. crude up a single cent at $49.46, while Brent added 24 cents to $59.14 a barrel.On Wall Street, the Nasdaq had notched up nine straight sessions of gains in its longest winning streak since September 2010, aided by a further rise in Apple stock to an all-time peak.The Nasdaq ended Monday up 0.1 percent, while the Dow fell 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 lost 0.03 percent.Yellen testifies before Congress later on Tuesday and there is much uncertainty over whether she will echo the dovish tone of the minutes from the Fed’s last meeting, or reaffirm June as a window for a first rate hike.”Given the growing evidence that the backdrop can more than withstand what will amount to a modest increase in the policy rate, we find it hard to imagine Yellen will promote the ‘lower for longer’ mantra that was espoused in the minutes,” argued Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBCM.”Economic fundamentals quite clearly show we no longer need emergency levels of accommodation.”If that view proves right, it would likely send Treasury yields and the dollar higher, while challenging risk appetite globally.Bond investors seemed to be hoping Yellen would choose to take a dovish slant, and yields on 10-year Treasury notes were holding around 2.07 percent, compared to last week’s high of 2.1640 percent.The forex market was leaning the other way and keeping the dollar well underpinned at 119.05 yen and at 94.582 against a basket of currencies.The euro remained on the defensive at $1.1336 , having failed to sustain a bounce to $1.1412 overnight.Doubts lingered over Greece which will now send its economic reform plans to euro zone finance ministers on Tuesday, after missing a Monday deadline.Germany has insisted that any extra spending on the list of reforms had to be offset by savings or higher taxes in order to meet conditions for extending Athens’ financial lifeline.(Editing by Shri Navaratnam & Kim Coghill)/.dxy/.spx/.dji/.ixic/.n225/.miapj0000pus

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Asia tentative, awaiting word on Fed rate outlook – Reuters

People walk past stock quotation boards outside a brokerage in Tokyo February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai


(Reuters) – Caution shrouded Asian markets on Tuesday as investors fretted over what Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen might say on the likely lift-off date for policy tightening later in the session.

Moves were marginal at best and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS inched down 0.1 percent. The Nikkei .N225 dithered either side of flat after scoring a run of 15-year highs.

Oil prices tried to steady after their latest retreat, with U.S. crude CLc1 up 10 cents at $49.55.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq had notched up nine straight sessions of gains in its longest since September 2010, aided by a further rise in Apple (AAPL.O) stock to an all time peak.

The Nasdaq .IXIC ended Monday up 0.1 percent, while the Dow .DJI fell 0.13 percent and the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.03 percent.

Yellen testifies before Congress later on Tuesday and there is much uncertainty over whether she will echo the dovish tone of the minutes from the Fed’s last meeting, or reaffirm June as a window for a first rate hike.

“Given the growing evidence that the backdrop can more than withstand what will amount to a modest increase in the policy rate, we find it hard to imagine Yellen will promote the “lower for longer” mantra that was espoused in the Minutes,” argues Tom Porcelli, chief US economist at RBCM.

“Economic fundamentals quite clearly show we no longer need emergency levels of accommodation.”

If that view proves right, it would likely send Treasury yields and the dollar higher, while challenging risk appetite globally.

Bond investors seemed to be hoping Yellen would choose to take a dovish slant, and yields on 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR were steady at 2.06 percent, compared to last week’s high of 2.1640 percent.

The forex market was leaning the other way and keeping the dollar well underpinned at 118.90 yen JPY= and at 94.546 .DXY against a basket of currencies.

The euro remained on the defensive at $1.1333 EUR=, having failed to sustain a bounce to $1.1412 overnight.

Doubts lingered over Greece which will now send its economic reform plans to euro zone finance ministers on Tuesday, after missing a Monday deadline.

Germany has insisted that any extra spending on the list of reforms had to be offset by savings or higher taxes in order to meet conditions for extending Athens’ financial lifeline.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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Stocks mixed as Greek deal offsets tumbling oil – Reuters Canada

By Herbert Lash



NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks slipped from all-time highs on Monday, pulled lower by a sharp drop in crude oil prices, while European shares rallied to fresh seven-year highs on last week’s conditional financial rescue for Greece.



Yields on low-rated euro zone government bonds fell on relief an agreement was reached late Friday as it eased concerns that Greece would leave the euro, even though it merely buys time for Athens to seek a long-term deal with Europe.



The Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 surged to highs last seen in December 2007 and Germany’s DAX equity index .GDAXI set a record closing high, pushing gains so far this year to almost 14 percent.



Britain’s FTSE 100 index .FTSE was the only major index in Europe to close lower, albeit slightly, after HSBC HSBA.L reported a 17 percent drop in annual profit. The bank’s shares fell 4.6 percent.



Oil weakened on rising inventories, which have pressured crude prices and hit U.S. energy shares, a major component of the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index. The S&P 500 and the Dow industrials closed at all-time highs on Friday.



“What investors seem concerned with is that oil isn’t finding a base,” said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.



“Investors like stability, orderly rises and declines, and things like oil dropping by the types of moves it’s been dropping and the volatility it creates is just a negative for some market participants,” he said.



On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 54.34 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,086.1. The S&P 500 .SPX slid 5.02 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,105.28 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC lost 5.50 points, or 0.11 percent, to 4,950.46.



MSCI’s all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS, a measure of stock performance in 46 countries, slipped 0.07 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose closed up 0.65 percent at 1,535.08.



Brent crude LCOc1 fell $1.32 to settle at $58.90 a barrel. Benchmark U.S. WTI crude CLc1 for April delivery settled down $1.36 at $49.45.



The dollar rose against most currencies as investors await Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony on Tuesday to a Senate panel for clues on when the U.S. central bank will boost interest rates.



The euro retreated on lingering doubts over whether the Greek accord will lead to a deal to keep Athens solvent.



“The Greece debt deal has been mildly positive, but it’s difficult to determine what is the next move yet before Yellen’s testimony tomorrow,” said Lane Newman, director of foreign exchange at ING Capital Markets in New York.



The dollar index .DXY, a measure of the greenback versus currencies of major U.S. trading partners, rose 0.32 percent to 94.555.



The euro was down 0.38 percent against the dollar at $1.1335 EUR=EBS. The dollar dipped 0.12 percent against the yen, last trading at 118.87 yen JPY=EBS.



U.S. Treasuries prices rose on expectations Yellen will take a dovish tone on monetary policy and as traders viewed the latest drop in oil prices as a sign of deflation that will underpin a cautious Fed.



“We’re seeing abating inflationary trends,” said Justin Hoogendoorn, fixed income strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. “It makes it more difficult for the Fed to argue that they should be hiking rates.”



Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR rose 22/32 in price to yield 2.0557 percent.





(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler and Andrew Hay)


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Nasdaq ends up 9th session; S&P 500, Dow dip with energy – Reuters

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 20, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 20, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES – Tags: BUSINESS)


(Reuters) – The Nasdaq ended higher on Monday for a ninth straight day following gains in Apple (AAPL.O), while the Dow and S&P 500 eased off recent record highs as lower oil prices dragged down energy shares.

Nasdaq’s winning run was its longest since September 2010, putting the index closer to its 5,132.52 all-time intraday high, reached in March 2000 just before the dot-com bubble burst. Giving Nasdaq its biggest boost were shares of Apple, which rose 2.7 percent to $133.00, another record close.

Oil prices fell, with WTI crude CLc1 off 2.7 percent at $49.45 a barrel on oversupply concerns and a stronger dollar, pushing the S&P energy index .SPNY down 0.4 percent.

The PHLX housing sector index .HGX was off 0.5 percent after existing home sales fell to their lowest in nine months in January.

Investors were also reluctant to make big bets before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semiannual testimony this week before the Senate Banking Committee, which will be closely watched for any indications on the timing of an interest rate hike.

That is always a potentially big market mover, said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

“We had some disappointing housing data this morning, and oil prices were lower,” which were enough to dampen sentiment, he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 23.6 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,116.84, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.64 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,109.66 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 5.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,960.97.

The Dow and S&P 500 eased off record highs from late last week, when a conditional agreement was reached by euro zone finance ministers to extend Greece’s bailout.

Insurer stocks gained after the government proposed late Friday to make only a small cut in payments to Medicare plans, a reversal from the much larger cuts in recent years. The announcement was more clearly presented this year than in previous years, analysts said, giving investors more certainty that the worst was behind for this program.

Shares of Humana (HUM.N) were up 5.4 percent at $164.52 while UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N) gained 3.4 percent to $116.40.

Boeing (BA.N) fell 2.3 percent to $154.74, the biggest drag on the Dow, after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to “sell” from “neutral.”

Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) agreed to acquire gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (SLXP.O) in an all-cash deal valued at about $10.1 billion, the companies said on Sunday. U.S. listed shares of Valeant (VRX.N) gained 14.7 percent to $198.75 while Salix slipped 1.3 percent to $155.76.

About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 7 billion average for the month to date, according to BATS Global Markets.

NYSE decliners outnumbered advancers 1,539 to 1,506, for a 1.02-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,547 issues fell and 1,182 advanced, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 68 new 52-week highs and 1 low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 117 new highs and 39 lows.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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Wall Street eases after Dow, S&P records as energy declines – KFGO

Monday, February 23, 2015 6:57 a.m. CST

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were down slightly in midday trading Monday as lower oil prices dragged down energy shares, pulling the Dow and S&P 500 off recent record levels.

Oil prices fell, with WTI crude off $1.30 at $49.50 a barrel on oversupply concerns and a stronger dollar, pushing the S&P energy index down 0.6 percent.

Housing stocks lost ground, with the PHLX housing sector index off 0.7 percent after existing home sales fell sharply to their lowest in nine months in January.

Investors were also reluctant to make big bets before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semiannual testimony this week on the economy and monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee, which will be closely watched for any indications on the timing of an interest rate hike.

A conditional agreement by euro zone finance ministers to extend Greece’s bailout sent the Dow and S&P to record levels late last week, while the Nasdaq moved closer to its all-time high from March 2000.

“Crude continues to be very weak. But you can argue that as long as it stabilizes and doesn’t completely plunge it’s probably a positive, so it’s really going to depend on earnings and macro news in the market right now,” said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.

At 12:53 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average fell 49.8 points, or 0.27 percent, to 18,090.64, the S&P 500 lost 4.56 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,105.74 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.81 points, or 0.06 percent, to 4,953.16.

Boeing fell 2.5 percent to $154.10 as the biggest drag on the Dow after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the aircraft maker to “sell” from “neutral.”

Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc agreed to acquire gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd in an all-cash deal valued at about $10.1 billion, the companies said on Sunday. U.S. listed shares of Valeant gained 13.2 percent to $196.14 while Salix slipped 1.1 percent to $156.06.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,709 to 1,277, for a 1.34-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,611 issues fell and 1,035 advanced, a 1.56-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 was posting 62 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 102 new highs and 30 new lows.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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Wall St. dips after Dow, S&P touch records; energy drags – Reuters UK

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:29pm GMT

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 20, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 20, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES – Tags: BUSINESS)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks edged lower in morning trading Monday amid weakness in oil prices, after a conditional agreement by euro zone finance ministers to extend Greece’s bailout sent the Dow and S&P to record levels last week.

Oil prices fell, with Brent LCOc1 down 0.9 percent to $59.68 and WTI crude off 2.4 percent at $49.61 a barrel on oversupply concerns and a stronger dollar, pulling the S&P energy index .SPNY down 0.5 percent.

Housing stocks lost ground, with the PHLX housing sector index .HGX off 0.2 percent after existing home sales fell sharply to their lowest in nine months in January.

Investors were also reluctant to make big bets before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semiannual testimony on the economy and monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee, which will be closely watched for any indications on the timing of an interest rate hike.

“(Housing data) is hard to forecast in the context of Yellen talking tomorrow as well, because we may be in another one of these periods where weakness is a good thing before it forestalls the Fed a little bit longer,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

“It really is just waiting on the comments tomorrow.”

Greece will present its economic reform plans on Monday to seal the euro zone financial lifeline, but the government drew criticism from a veteran leftist and ruling party member that the deal let voters down. The deal is conditional on the country’s European and IMF creditors accepting a list of reforms drawn up by Greece.

The equity market gains had led each of the three major Wall Street indexes to their third weekly advance on Friday, with the Nasdaq on an eight-session winning streak as it closed in on the 5,000 mark for the first time in nearly fifteen years.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 44.15 points, or 0.24 percent, to 18,096.29, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.46 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,106.84 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 7.90 points, or 0.16 percent, to 4,948.06.

Boeing (BA.N) fell 2.7 percent to $154.10 as the biggest drag on the Dow after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the aircraft maker to “sell” from “neutral.”

Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) agreed to acquire gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (SLXP.O) in an all-cash deal valued at about $10.1 billion, the companies said on Sunday. U.S. listed shares of Valeant (VRX.N) gained 13.2 percent to $196.14 while Salix slipped 1.1 percent to $156.06.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,756 to 1,180, for a 1.49-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,660 issues fell and 908 advanced for a 1.83-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 59 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 84 new highs and 24 new lows.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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Stocks mixed as Greek deal offsets tumbling oil – Reuters UK

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:50pm GMT

A man walks past the London Stock Exchange in the City of London October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

1 of 4. A man walks past the London Stock Exchange in the City of London October 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks slipped from all-time highs on Monday, pulled lower by a sharp drop in crude oil prices, while European shares rallied to fresh seven-year highs on last week’s conditional financial rescue for Greece.

Yields on low-rated euro zone government bonds fell on relief an agreement was reached late Friday as it eased concerns that Greece would leave the euro, even though it merely buys time for Athens to seek a long-term deal with Europe.

The Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 surged to highs last seen in December 2007 and Germany’s DAX equity index .GDAXI set a record closing high, pushing gains so far this year to almost 14 percent.

Britain’s FTSE 100 index .FTSE was the only major index in Europe to close lower, albeit slightly, after HSBC (HSBA.L) reported a 17 percent drop in annual profit. The bank’s shares fell 4.6 percent.

Oil weakened on rising inventories, which have pressured crude prices and hit U.S. energy shares, a major component of the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index. The S&P 500 and the Dow industrials closed at all-time highs on Friday.

“What investors seem concerned with is that oil isn’t finding a base,” said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“Investors like stability, orderly rises and declines, and things like oil dropping by the types of moves it’s been dropping and the volatility it creates is just a negative for some market participants,” he said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 50.09 points, or 0.28 percent, at 18,090.35. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was down 4.80 points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,105.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 4.89 points, or 0.10 percent, at 4,951.07.

MSCI’s all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS, a measure of stock performance in 46 countries, slipped 0.07 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose closed up 0.65 percent at 1,535.08.

Brent crude LCOc1 fell $1.09 to $59.13 a barrel. Benchmark U.S. WTI crude CLc1 for April delivery fell $1.58 to $49.23.

The dollar rose against most currencies as investors await Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony on Tuesday to a Senate panel for clues on when the U.S. central bank will boost interest rates.

The euro retreated on lingering doubts over whether the Greek accord will lead to a deal to keep Athens solvent.

“The Greece debt deal has been mildly positive, but it’s difficult to determine what is the next move yet before Yellen’s testimony tomorrow,” said Lane Newman, director of foreign exchange at ING Capital Markets in New York.

The dollar index .DXY, a measure of the greenback versus currencies of major U.S. trading partners, rose 0.4 percent to 94.610.

The euro was down 0.35 percent against the dollar at $1.1338. The dollar dipped 0.11 percent against the yen, last trading at 118.88 yen.

U.S. Treasuries prices rose on expectations Yellen will take a dovish tone on monetary policy and as traders viewed the latest drop in oil prices as a sign of deflation that will underpin a cautious Fed.

“We’re seeing abating inflationary trends,” said Justin Hoogendoorn, fixed income strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. “It makes it more difficult for the Fed to argue that they should be hiking rates.”

Benchmark 10-year notes rose 19/32 in price to yield 2.0644 percent.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Stocks mixed as Greek deal offsets tumbling oil – Reuters

A man walks past the London Stock Exchange in the City of London October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth


(Reuters) – U.S. stocks slipped from all-time highs on Monday, pulled lower by a sharp drop in crude oil prices, while European shares rallied on the conditional financial rescue for Greece hammered out at the end of last week.

Yields on low-rated euro zone government bonds fell as the agreement reached late Friday eased concerns that Greece would leave the euro, even though it merely buys time for Athens to seek a long-term deal with Europe.

The Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 hit seven-year highs and Germany’s DAX equity index .GDAXI set a new all-time high before paring gains after the Ifo index for German business morale came in below market expectations.

Oil weakened on building inventories, which have pressured crude prices and hit U.S. energy shares, a major component of the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index.

“What investors seem concerned with is that oil isn’t finding a base,” said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“Investors like stability, orderly rises and declines, and things like oil dropping by the types of moves it’s been dropping and the volatility it creates is just a negative for some market participants,” he said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 32.46 points, or 0.18 percent, at 18,107.98. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was down 2.40 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,107.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 4.43 points, or 0.09 percent, at 4,951.54.

MSCI’s all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS, a measure of stock performance in 46 countries, fell 0.04 percent, and Britain’s FTSE 100 index .FTSE fell 0.37 percent after HSBC (HSBA.L) reported a 17 percent drop in annual profit.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose was up 0.47 percent at 1,532.34.

Brent crude LCOc1 traded 1 percent lower at $59.56 a barrel. Benchmark U.S. WTI crude CLc1 for April delivery fell 2.6 percent to $49.48 a barrel.

The dollar rose against most currencies as investors await clues on the U.S. central bank’s move to boost interest rates in testimony on Tuesday from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen before a Senate panel.

The euro retreated on lingering doubts over whether the Greek accord will lead to a deal to keep Athens solvent.

“The Greece debt deal has been mildly positive, but it’s difficult to determine what is the next move yet before Yellen’s testimony tomorrow,” said Lane Newman, director of foreign exchange at ING Capital Markets in New York.

The dollar index .DXY, a measure of the greenback versus currencies of major U.S. trading partners, rose 0.22 percent to 94.459.

The euro was down 0.24 percent against the dollar at $1.1351. The dollar dipped 0.13 percent against the yen, last trading at 118.86 yen.

U.S. Treasuries prices rose on expectations Yellen will take a dovish tone on monetary policy and as traders viewed the latest drop in oil prices as a sign of deflation that will underpin a cautious Fed.

“We’re seeing abating inflationary trends,” said Justin Hoogendoorn, fixed income strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. “It makes it more difficult for the Fed to argue that they should be hiking rates.”

Benchmark 10-year notes rose 15/32 in price to yield 2.0801 percent.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Wall Street Falters Ahead of Existing Home Sales Data – Fox Business

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Monday, with both the Dow and S&P 500 near records levels as investors digested an agreement by euro zone finance ministers to extend Greece’s bailout by four months, provided it draws up a list of reforms.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.6 points, or 0.05 percent, to 18,130.84, the S&P 500 lost 1.77 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,108.53 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.25 points, or 0.07 percent, to 4,952.72.

Greece will present its economic reform plans on Monday to seal the euro zone financial lifeline, but the government drew criticism from a veteran leftist and ruling party member that the deal let voters down. The deal is conditional on Greece’s European and IMF creditors accepting the reform list.

“In spite of Germany taking a hard line, the proposals will most likely be accepted by the EU and the reason for that is simply Greece cannot afford to depart from the euro zone, not because Greece is a big economy, but from a psychological standpoint,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

“The EU does not want Greece to leave, because if (it does), it sets a precedent and opens up a new can of worms – who would be next?”

The equity market gains led each of the three major Wall Street indexes to their third weekly advance on Friday, with the Nasdaq on an eight-session winning streak as it closed in on the 5,000 mark for the first time in nearly fifteen years.

Existing home sales data is due at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), the first in a flurry of economic reports this week that will help investors gauge the strength of the housing sector.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 4 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a slightly lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 39 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 0.5 point.

Oil prices fell, with Brent down 2.4 percent to $58.76 and WTI crude off 3.6 percent at $48.99 a barrel on oversupply concerns and a stronger dollar.

Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc agreed to acquire gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd in an all-cash deal valued at about $10.1 billion, the companies said on Sunday. U.S. listed shares of Valeant gained 8.7 percent to $188.30 while Salix slipped 0.9 percent to $156.45 in premarket trading.

Asahi Kasei Corp, a Japanese chemicals maker, said it would buy Polypore International Inc’s energy storage segment for $2.2 billion, betting on the growth of hybrid and electric cars. Polypore shares jumped 12 percent to $59.30 before the opening bell.

Home Loan Servicing climbed 7.9 percent to $18.08 in premarket after the company agreed to be acquired by New Residential Investment Corp for about $1.3 billion. [ID:L4N0VX2KR}

Dow component Boeing fell 1.8 percent to $155.49 after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the aircraft maker to “sell” from “neutral.”

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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Wall St. opens modestly lower at the open – TODAYonline

NEW YORK – U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Monday, with both the Dow and S&P 500 near records levels as investors digested an agreement by euro zone finance ministers to extend Greece’s bailout by four months, provided it draws up a list of reforms.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.6 points, or 0.05 percent, to 18,130.84, the S&P 500 lost 1.77 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,108.53 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.25 points, or 0.07 percent, to 4,952.72. REUTERS

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