The MSCI All-Country World Index lost 0.3 percent at 8:40 a.m. in New York. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were 0.7 percent lower and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.6 percent as trading volume slumped. Gasoline futures jumped 2.7 percent. Italy’s two-year note headed for or its longest run of declines since May, with the yield increasing seven basis points to 2.35 percent. The euro depreciated 0.3 percent to $1.2897 and a gauge of European corporate credit risk climbed for an eighth day.
The U.S. securities industry canceled equity trading on all markets today, and some New Jersey refineries shut or reduced operations as Sandy headed toward New York City with 70-mile- per-hour winds. Federal government offices in the Washington area will be open only for emergency personnel beginning today. Italy sold 8 billion euros ($10.3 billion) of bills.
“For today the downward pressure from the slowing global economy will move to the background as Sandy and the impact it could have to the most populated portion of the U.S. evolves over the next several days,” Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York, said in a report.
The trading suspension in the U.S., announced by the Securities and Exchange Commission and exchanges, followed an earlier decision by the New York Stock Exchange to close floor trading. CME Group Inc. said it will halt stock-index futures and options at 9:15 a.m. New York time. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommended trading in dollar- denominated fixed-income securities end at noon.
The hurricane is forecast to make landfall late today in southern New Jersey, then turn inland, according to an advisory last night from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose 0.8 percent in September, more than forecast, after a 0.5 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today.
The Stoxx 600 fell for the first time in four days, with the number of shares changing hands 34 percent less than the 30- day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Insurers declined the most among 10 industry groups. Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, lost 2 percent, and Swiss Re AG, the second biggest, slipped 2.9 percent.
Travelers Cos., the sole insurer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, lost 1 percent in German trading. Allstate Corp., a U.S. home and auto insurer, dropped 0.8 percent.
ThyssenKrupp AG retreated 3.7 percent, the most in a month. Germany’s biggest steelmaker asked companies to resubmit offers for its unprofitable Americas unit after deciding the original bids were too low, people familiar with the matter said.
UBS AG rallied 6.1 percent. Switzerland’s largest bank will cut as many as 10,000 jobs companywide as the trading business shrinks, a person with knowledge of the plan said. Serge Steiner, a spokesman for the bank in Zurich, declined to comment.
Italian bonds fell as the government sold bills before the outcome of a regional vote in Sicily that may signal the direction of forthcoming national elections. Former premier Silvio Berlusconi said on Oct. 27 that he may withdraw support for the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti because its policies are deepening the recession. The yield on Italy’s 10- year bond increased eight basis points to 4.98 percent.