U.S. stocks dipped Monday after Moody’s Investors Service lowered its U.S. credit rating outlook to negative from stable. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 44 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 fell 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite pulled back by 0.6%. Driving the losses in the S&P 500 were V.F., Illumina and Boston Properties, respectively down 3.4%, 4.2% and 3% just after the open. Shares of Boeing added more than 4% after Emirates announced a $52 billion order for 95 aircraft. Moody’s on Friday underscored the U.S.′ “very large” fiscal deficits and partisan gridlock in Washington as contributing factors for the cut. The ratings agency reaffirmed America’s credit rating at AAA, the highest level. This comes three months after Fitch lowered the U.S. long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to AA+ from AAA, also citing expected fiscal deterioration, an increasing debt burden and political standoffs on fiscal and debt issues. Treasury yields rose Monday following the outlook change. The benchmark 10-year yield gained 6 basis points to 4.686%. “We’re seeing investor reaction to the Moody’s downgrade, but we’re also seeing skittishness around some big developments pending this week. We think all eyes are focused on this week’s inflation data and the resulting Fed policy,” said Greg Bassuk, CEO of AXS Investments. With that in mind, Bassuk expects market volatility to continue through the end of the year, especially given the ongoing wars overseas. That, combined with mixed economic data, “have resulted in the Grinch fueling the Christmas rally this year.” Investors are awaiting the release of fresh U.S. inflation data this week, with the latest reading on the consumer price index slated for release Tuesday. Treasury yields rose Monday, as investors considered the state of the economy after a cut to the U.S. outlook from Moody’s. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was up more than 6 basis points at at 4.692%. The 2-year Treasury yield was last trading at 5.079% after adding nearly two basis points. Most Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Monday, as investors look to more economic data ahead of high-stakes talks between the U.S. and China. Separately, ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service on Friday downgraded its ratings outlook on the U.S. government to negative from stable, pointing to rising risks to the nation’s fiscal strength. Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended 0.05% up at 32,585.11, while the Topix stayed flat at 2,336.62. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.24% lower to close at 2,403.76 and the Kosdaq dropped 1.89% at 774.42. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.40% to close at 6,948.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.14%, while China’s CSI 300 index eased 0.52%. Oil prices wavered on Monday, as renewed concerns over waning demand in the United States and China, coupled with mixed signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve, kept markets uncertain. Brent crude futures for January were up just 15 cents at $81.58 a barrel, after losing $1 in earlier trading, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for December were at $77.35, up 18 cents. Gold prices held steady on Monday as investors looked towards key U.S. inflation data due this week that could throw some light on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate stance. Spot gold was down 0.06% to $1,935.69 per ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.11% to $1,940.20.
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