World stocks fall on U.S. results, bond prices rise

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 19, 2012 17:20 hrs
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stocks and crude oil fell on Friday as investors took a dim view of U.S. corporate earnings after General Electric and McDonald's disappointed, while Europe's debt crisis and ongoing concerns about global growth also weighed on sentiment.

The euro slipped against the dollar as a perceived lack of progress on a Spanish bailout request curbed demand. Risk appetite also eased on a report showing U.S. home resales fell in September, a reminder that America's housing sector is a long way from a full recovery.

The euro was last down 0.3 percent at $1.3024 after falling as low as $1.3018.

European shares snapped a four-day winning streak as signs of disagreement among European Union leaders over how to help the region's debt-ridden banks hit financial stocks.

Equities in Europe might be prone to a bigger fall-back because of the perceived lack of progress in finding long-lasting solutions to the euro zone debt crisis, said Luc Bocahut, a portfolio manager at Monaco-based Tiverton Trading.

"I would be quite bearish here. They really haven't made much progress," Bocahut said.

U.S. stocks extended their slide to more than 1 percent as earnings from large multinationals underscored the effect of the global economic slowdown.

The sell-off occurred on the 25th anniversary of the Black Monday crash of 1987, when the Dow plummeted 22.6 percent - its worst ever single-day percentage loss.

Revenue missed analysts' expectations at GE due to unfavorable exchange rates, while McDonald's profits also missed expectations because of the weak global economy.

Of the 116 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far in the U.S. earnings season, 60 percent have exceeded analysts' estimates, a rate lower than the 67 percent pace of the previous four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 157.11 points, or 1.16 percent, at 13,391.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 18.44 points, or 1.27 percent, at 1,438.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 57.55 points, or 1.87 percent, at 3,015.32.

MSCI's all-country world equity index was down 1.1 percent at 334.62. In Europe, the pan-regional Euro STOXX 50 fell 1.45 percent to a preliminary close of 2,536.86.

U.S. Treasury prices edged up as selling pressure that has hurt the market the past four days subsided. Recent stronger U.S. economic data and hopes that European leaders are taking steps to resolve their debt crisis caused a dramatic jump in Treasuries yields this week amid heavy selling of the debt.

The market is also now pricing in an expectation that the Federal Reserve will start raising rates in 2014, instead of 2015, for the first time since before Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech in Jackson Hole in August, said Jim Vogel, interest rate strategist at FTN Financial in Memphis, Tennessee.

"The question everyone is asking is 'Was QE3 even necessary?' given that we are already seeing evidence of a nice third-quarter rebound," he said.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 18/32 to yield 1.7677 percent.

Crude oil prices fell more than 1 percent.

December Brent crude oil futures slid $1.45 to $111.97 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell $1.27 to $90.83 a


(Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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