Wall Street wavers, dollar, gold rise on U.S.-China tensions

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  • Flight to safety boosts dollar, gold
  • Crude up slightly ahead of OPEC+ meeting
  • Pelosi Taiwan visit fuels geopolitical tensions
  • Report hints at easing U.S. jobs market

NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks struggled for gains and the dollar and gold rallied on Tuesday as simmering U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan and ongoing concerns about a cooling global economy sweetened the appeal of safe-haven assets.

All three major U.S. stock indexes were mixed, with economically sensitive transports (.DJT) leading decliners, and gold and the greenback outperforming most asset classes.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impending arrival in Taipei, despite warnings from Beijing, prompted Chinese war planes to buzz the Taiwan Strait in protest. read more

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“Markets are on edge,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. “Pelosi’s visit is causing nervousness in the market.”

“The dollar is rising, gold is rising. What we’re seeing is a flight to safety,” Cardillo added.

A report from the Labor Department showed job openings in the United States dropped by 5.4% in June, a sign that the jobs market is easing amid softening demand.

The report “points to inflation has peaked,” Cardillo said, adding that investors will probably see confirmation that investors will likely see signs of waning wage growth in this week’s labor data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 182.98 points, or 0.56%, to 32,615.42, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 5.19 points, or 0.13%, to 4,113.44 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 3.41 points, or 0.03%, to 12,372.38.

Risk-off sentiment also pulled European stocks lower, weighed by weak economic data and rising Sino-U.S. tensions. read more

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) lost 0.27% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe (.MIWD00000PUS) shed 0.47%.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.11%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) closed 1.21% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) lost 1.42%.

U.S. Treasury yields edged higher amid volatile trading, as the prospect of growth and attractive returns in the world’s largest bond market trumped geopolitical turmoil over Taiwan.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 14/32 in price to yield 2.6558%, from 2.605% late on Monday.

The 30-year bond last fell 14/32 in price to yield 2.9477%, from 2.925% late on Monday.

Crude prices advanced ahead of the OPEC+ meeting of oil producers expected this week, the outcome of which could mean a boost to global crude supply, while lingering recession fears helped cap those gains. read more

U.S. crude rose 0.32% to $94.19 per barrel and Brent was last at $100.33, up 0.3% on the day.

While the dollar reversed recent losses against a basket of world currencies, the Japanese yen rose against the greenback.

The dollar index rose 0.39%, with the euro down 0.54% to $1.0206.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.03% versus the greenback at 131.62 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2215, down 0.27% on the day.

Gold was on course for its fifth consecutive day of gains as the safe-haven metal benefited from dampened risk appetites. read more

Spot gold added 0.4% to $1,779.49 an ounce.

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Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Christina Fincher

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