Shares dip after 6-month peak, oil nears $70 a barrel


By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 2 () - World stock markets were little changed on Tuesday after grazing a six-month high as investors took a breather following a three-day run of gains.

Oil prices, meanwhile, continued to ascend amid the prospect of tightening supply due to further possible sanctions against Iran and other disruptions.

Major U.S. indexes were little changed, although the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was dragged down by a slump of 12.18% in Walgreens Boots Alliance after the drugstore chain cut its 2019 profit growth forecast.

"We had a pretty good rally yesterday and I think part of it was overdone," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"We're still in this mixed economic data range where you're really not going to see it driving (markets) one way or the other."

New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods slipped in February and shipments were unchanged, but data for January was revised slightly higher, which could support views that the manufacturing sector was stabilizing in the wake of the data on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 110.27 points, or 0.42%, to 26,148.15, the S&P 500 lost 5.66 points, or 0.20%, to 2,861.53 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.81 points, or 0.06%, to 7,824.10.

After a sluggish start, European shares were able to build some momentum heading into the close of trading, with the STOXX 600 hitting its highest intraday level since late September.

Europe was led by a jump of more than 1 percent in London's FTSE 100 index as sterling weakened. That came as the European Union said Britain could be heading for a potentially disorderly exit in 10 days as Prime Minister Theresa May met with ministers to work out ways to break the Brexit deadlock.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.29%.

The dollar index rose 0.23%, with the euro down 0.19% to $1.1191. Sterling was last trading at $1.3037, down 0.47% on the day.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 7/32 in price to yield 2.4741%, from 2.497% late on Monday.

Oil prices continued to rally, with crude prices hitting their highest levels of the year and Brent moving closer to $70 a barrel for the first time since late October. The gains came on the prospect that more sanctions against Iran and further Venezuelan disruptions could deepen an OPEC-led supply cut.

U.S. crude rose 0.68% to $62.01 per barrel and Brent was last at $69.11, up 0.14% on the day.

Global assets in 2019

Global currencies vs. dollar

MSCI All Country Wolrd Index Market Cap (graphic).

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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