European stocks followed Asian shares lower, while U.S. equity benchmarks pointed to a softer open in the wake of Tuesday’s record close. Treasuries climbed and the dollar extended its rally to a six-week high.
Losses for raw-material producers threatened to end the longest run of gains since October 2017 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, with banks drifting lower despite positive earnings from Credit Suisse. Futures on the S&P 500 slipped after the underlying index closed at a record on Tuesday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated as shares dropped in Tokyo. Core European sovereign bonds climbed, while the common currency fell after data showed Germany’s business confidence worsened. Crude oil dipped and gold held recent losses.
The buoyancy that took U.S. stocks to record highs appears to have triggered some soul-searching among investors, with positive earnings surprises in Europe failing to erase lingering concerns about the region’s economic outlook. So far, almost 80 percent of S&P 500 companies reporting results have exceeded estimates. Still looming is economic news, with U.S. first-quarter gross domestic product data due on Friday, while emerging market investors will be nervously watching the dollar’s climb.
In China, markets got little help from the central bank’s move to support liquidity in the banking system to fund lending. The People’s Bank of China injected the equivalent of about $40 billion in medium-term loans. The PBOC has refrained from stronger measures, such as lowering the country’s benchmark lending rates, as an upturn in economic data reduces the pressure for more stimulus.