US stocks hovered within striking distance of all-time highs, while Treasuries rose as investors weighed the latest salvos in the trade war with China and sanctions that torpedoed the Russian rouble. Oil held near a seven-week low.
The S&P 500 Index swung between gains and losses about half a percentage point from its January high as data underscored the health of the US job market. Technology shares paced gains. The 10-year Treasury yield slumped to 2.93 per cent after producer prices stagnated last month. The greenback climbed, while emerging-market currencies weakened for a second day, with Turkey’s lira and Russia’s rouble extending their slump as disputes with the US deepened.
Geopolitical tensions between the US and other countries are setting the tone for markets, with China responding to the Trump administration’s latest trade war volley with additional tariffs of its own. The rouble hit a two-year low after the US announced new sanctions on Russia over the March 4 nerve-agent attack on a former double agent in the UK. Turkey’s lira plunged to a record and bond yields climbed as a dispute over the detention of an American pastor dragged on.
Elsewhere, oil held steady after yesterday’s plunge sparked by China’s decision to slap 25 per cent duties on US imports including petroleum products. Most industrial metals gained and gold edged higher.