Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Tuesday, May 29:
1. Sea Of Red In Europe As Italy Risk Rocks Markets
A deepening political crisis in Italy provoked a second day of heavy selling on European financial markets, with the euro cut to a 6-1/2 month low, stocks punished and short-term borrowing costs surging for the government in Rome.
Italy’s FTSE MIB led losses across the continent, with the index down around 3%.
Investors also fled Italian debt, as the 2-year bond yield soared by 172 percentage points to 2.42%, the biggest one-day rise since 1992.
Italy's anti-establishment parties abandoned plans to form a coalition government after the country's president, Sergio Mattarella, refused to accept their euroskeptic candidate for economy minister.
Mattarella then asked Carlo Cottarelli, a former International Monetary Fund official, to try to form a new government, with snap elections expected.
Financial markets fear that the elections, which could take place as early as August, may become a de facto referendum on Italian membership of the currency bloc and the country's role in the European Union.
That sparked the euro to slip below the $1.16 level for the first time since late 2017, while the gap between Italian and German 10-year bond yields - a measure of Italian risk - widened to its highest in over four years.
Meanwhile, political uncertainty in Spain hit Madrid-traded stocks, as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s struggle to stay in power raised fears of new elections.
2. Dow Futures Drop 200 Points
U.S. stock futures pointed to a sharply lower open, as investors returning to their desk after a long weekend monitored political turmoil in Italy, while awaiting fresh data and earnings.
At 5:50AM ET, the blue-chip Dow futures sank 200 points, or about 0.8%, the S&P 500 futures slumped 21 points, or nearly 0.8%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a decline 47 points, or roughly 0.7%.
U.S. stocks were closed Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.
On the earnings front, Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH) and Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO) are scheduled to publish their latest corporate results ahead of the open, while Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) and HP (NYSE:HPE) are due after the bell.
3. Treasurys Rally Amid Risk-Off Mood
In another sign that investors were flocking to safer bets, U.S. government debt prices posted sharp gains.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to a six-week low of 2.799%. It last stood at around 2.85%, down 8.6 basis points.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also deep in the red at 3.02%.
Core European bond prices also rallied amid the risk-off atmosphere across global markets.
Germany's 10-Year dipped 6.0 basis points to 0.27%, hitting the lowest in more than five months with its fifth straight decline.
4. Dollar Jumps To Near 7-Month Highs
The lack of risk appetite ploughed cash into the U.S. dollar, lifting the dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, to 94.91, the highest since November 7.
But against safe haven yen, it dipped 0.6% to a three-week trough of 108.75 (USD/JPY).
The euro sank 0.9% against the dollar to 1.1519 (EUR/USD), the weakest in almost seven months.
The British pound fell 0.5% to 1.3240 (GBP/USD), the weakest in about six months.
5. Oil Prices Stay Under Pressure
Crude prices continued to struggle near their lowest levels in around six weeks, amid expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia would pump more oil to ease a potential shortfall in supply.
Brent crude futures were up 20 cents, or around 0.3%, at $75.50 a barrel, within sight of their lowest since May 8 at $74.53 reached in the last session.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude was down $1.36, or 2%, at $66.53 a barrel, sitting around its lowest since April 17.
The U.S. benchmark did not settle on Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.
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