Worries about higher US interest rates and Apple Inc’s prospects on Friday weighed on Wall Street equities, while the British pound retreated following dovish comments from the head of the Bank of England.
US stocks ended decisively lower as the yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose ever closer to 3 percent, reigniting fears that US Federal Reserve interest rate increases would dent the economy.
Adding to the angst were a series of pessimistic analyst reports on Apple expressing doubts about iPhone sales.
Canaccord Genuity Inc cut its estimate for iPhones and predicted that low sales would persist until new products are launched.
Apple, the biggest company by market capitalization, tumbled 4.1 percent, weighing especially hard on the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite, which on Friday finished 1.3 percent lower at 7,146.13.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 percent to close the week at 24,462.94, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.9 percent to end at 2,670.14.
Equity markets elsewhere were mixed, with Paris edging higher and Frankfurt notching a modest decline.
London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent after the pound suffered another drop on dimming expectations the central bank is to hike interest rates following remarks from bank Governor Mark Carney.
Markets had been widely pricing in a quarter-point interest rate hike next month to 0.75 percent amid a pick-up in UK wage growth, but British economic data this week, including a sharp drop in retail sales, had started to dampen those expectations.
“Prepare for a few interest rate rises over the next few years,” Carney told the BBC. “I don’t want to get too focused on the precise timing — it is more about the general path.”
“While Carney did not deviate from the view that gradual rate hikes are going to be necessary, he did cast doubt on whether the next will come in May, which was heavily being priced in earlier this week,” Oanda Corp analyst Craig Erlam said.
Asian markets mostly fell on Friday, as investors struggled to maintain the previous day’s positive momentum, as Taipei was off 1.8 percent and Seoul was 0.4 percent lower, while Shanghai slipped 1.5 percent and Hong Kong fell 0.9 percent.
Tokyo ended 0.1 percent down, while Singapore shed 0.6 percent and Sydney was 0.2 percent off. There were also losses in Jakarta and Wellington.
Oil prices pushed higher as key producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, signaled plans to continue to limit production to defend higher oil prices at a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
That was despite criticism on Twitter by US President Donald Trump of oil prices that are “artificially Very High.”
The surge in oil prices to their highest for more than three years supported bond yields across the eurozone.
Higher oil prices tend to push up inflation, which strengthens the case for tighter monetary policy and higher rates.
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