Emerging-market stocks fell, with a benchmark gauge heading for its biggest drop in two weeks, copper declined and the dollar climbed after the Federal Reserve signaled a faster timetable for raising rates. Chinese shares in Hong Kong entered a bear market.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slumped 1.3 percent by 8:18 a.m. in London, the most since March 3. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.4 percent and Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures were little changed. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index dropped 1.7 percent, while the yuan sank to a one-year low. The greenback gained against most major peers. Yields on German, UK and Australian government bonds rose. Copper pared its first weekly advance in a month and wheat declined.
Implied yields on US federal funds futures show traders see a 62 percent chance of a rate increase by June 2015 after Fed officials led by Chair Janet Yellen boosted their forecasts, saying key borrowing costs would be 1 percent by the end of 2015 and 2.25 percent a year later. Spain and France sell government bonds today, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a "determined" response is required to Russia's annexation of Crimea. China said it would speed up already decided measures to support economic growth.
"The market was wrongfooted as Yellen proved more hawkish than Ben Bernanke, at least at the margin, which was a big surprise," said Nizam Idris, head of strategy for fixed-income and currencies at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in Singapore. "With the hawkish FOMC meeting and continuing uncertainty in China, we could see the weakness in Asian currencies last through the end of March."
Four stocks fell for each that gained on the emerging-market gauge, which is set for its lowest close since March 14. All 10 industry groups retreated.
The FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.4 percent in London, while France's CAC 40 Index declined 0.6 percent and Germany's Dax Index dropped 0.6 percent.
Hermes International SCA, the French maker of Birkin bags and silk ties, dipped 0.6 percent after it reported an 8.9 percent increase in 2013 earnings. OHB AG, a German satellite- technology company, was little changed after saying 2013 net income rose to 19.4 million euros from 14.8 million and forecasting a dividend that missed estimates.
Intu Properties Plc, a real-estate investment trust, climbed 1 percent after saying it will buy two Westfield Group retail sites in Birmingham and Sprucefield, Northern Ireland, for 867.8 million pounds ($1.44 billion). Westfield fell 0.4 percent in Sydney.
The Micex Index in Moscow slipped 0.1 percent as Ukraine conceded that Russia's military now controls the region of Crimea. Russia's ruble was little changed after four days of gains.
Demilitarizing Crimea "is the best way to de-escalate the situation," Andriy Parubiy, head of Ukraine's National Security Council, told reporters in Kiev yesterday. He declined to say when forces would leave, and his announcement came as pro- Russian civilians overran bases in the region and detained Ukrainian personnel, including its navy chief.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.8 percent. The China Enterprises gauge of so-called H shares has fallen 20 percent from a Dec. 2 high to 9,203.07, meeting the common definition of having entered a bear market. Shares indexes in the mainland cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen declined at least 1.4 percent, erasing earlier gains.
The yuan weakened as much as 0.6 percent to 6.2334 per dollar in Shanghai, a one-year low. The People's Bank of China lowered the daily fixing today to the weakest level since Nov. 6. The yuan has dropped 1.4 percent this month, after February's record 1.4 percent slide.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its first-quarter growth outlook for Asia's largest economy to 5 percent from 6.7 percent, citing disappointing trade and consumption data.
China's State Council said the nation will "seize the moment to roll out already-determined measures in expanding domestic demand and stabilizing growth," the country's cabinet said in a statement last night after a meeting. China will "accelerate preliminary work and construction on key investment projects with timely assignment of budgeted funds."
Malaysia's ringgit retreated as much as 0.6 percent to 3.2982 a dollar, touching the lowest intraday level since Feb. 24. Bank Negara Malaysia cut the lower end of its economic growth forecast for this year, citing the damping effect of inflation on household spending. Indonesia's rupiah slumped 1 percent, the biggest drop this year.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, was little changed today after jumping 0.8 percent in New York, its biggest one-day advance since August. The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index fell 0.2 percent following a 0.3 percent loss yesterday.
New Zealand's dollar weakened 0.3 percent to 85.34 U.S. cents, and the so-called Aussie slid 0.2 percent to 90.21 cents. Australian 10-year government bond yields climbed 6 basis points to 4.12 percent.
German five-year bond yields jumped the most in three weeks, climbing five basis points to 0.7 percent.
Implied yields on US federal funds futures traded at the CME Group Inc. exchange jumped after the Fed announcement after signaling earlier yesterday a 42 percent probability the Fed would first increase its rate in June 2015, according to calculations available on the exchange's website.
Copper slid 1.2 percent in London to $6,471.50 a ton, cutting the week's advance to less than 0.1 percent. The industrial metal touched its lowest level in 44 months earlier this week before rallying through the last three days. Nickel, tin, zinc, lead and aluminum also fell at least 0.5 percent.
Gold traded 0.2 percent higher at $1,331.56 an ounce in the spot market after slipping 1.9 percent yesterday, its steepest one-day drop since Dec. 19.
Wheat futures dropped 0.6 percent today, after rising to a a 10-month high in the U.S. on speculation cold, dry weather will reduce yield potential in the US, the world's biggest exporter of the grain. Corn futures also retreated, falling 0.6 percent.