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World Shares Track Wall St Decline     03/04 05:35

   World shares fell Thursday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as another 
rise in bond yields rattled investors who worry that higher inflation may 
prompt central banks to raise ultra-low interest rates.

   (AP) -- World shares fell Thursday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as 
another rise in bond yields rattled investors who worry that higher inflation 
may prompt central banks to raise ultra-low interest rates.

   Benchmarks were lower in most major markets and the dollar rose against the 
Japanese yen.

   Shares have yoyo'd recently with fluctuations in bond yields. When yields 
rise quickly, as they have in recent weeks, it forces Wall Street to rethink 
the value of stocks. Technology stocks are most vulnerable to this reassessment 
after having soared during the pandemic, making them look pricier than the rest 
of the market.

   U.S. government bond yields have rebounded after easing earlier in the week. 
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slipped back to 1.45% Thursday 
after rising to 1.48% earlier in the day.

   "The dial ticks back to rising bond yield concerns, between that and the 
broad risk-on mood derived from the global economic recovery," Jingyi Pan of IG 
said in a report. She noted that stocks more affected by ups and downs in 
economic cycles were faring relatively well.

   Germany's DAX lost 0.4% to 14,028.59 and the CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.1% 
lower to 5,823.28. Britain's FTSE 100 gave up 0.8% to 6,623.47. U.S. futures 
looked set for a sluggish start, with the future for the S&P 500 trading 0.1% 
lower while the future for the Dow industrials was almost unchanged.

   In Asian trading, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 2.1% to 28,930.11 and the Hang 
Seng in Hong Kong dropped 2.2% to 29,236.79. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.8% 
to 6,760.70.

   The Shanghai Composite index shed 2.1% to 3,503.49. Investors are 
anticipating that policies outlined during the annual session of the National 
People's Congress, a largely ceremonial legislature that convenes on Friday, 
may point to a tightening of monetary and government stimulus.

   South Korea's Kospi lost 1.3% to 3,043.49 after the central bank reported 
the economy contracted in 2020 for the first time since 1998.

   Preliminary data released by the Bank of Korea on Thursday showed the gross 
domestic product fell 1% from 2019, in the first annual contraction since South 
Korea was in the midst of a crippling financial crisis in 1998.

   The U.S. dollar rose to 107.29 Japanese yen, its highest level in seven 
months, from 106.99 yen late Wednesday. Higher yields and interest rates would 
tend to push the greenback higher.

   The euro slipped to $1.2039 from $1.2066.

   On Wednesday, the S&P 500 dropped 1.3% to 3,819.72, shedding an early gain. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.4% to 31,270.09. The 
technology-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 2.7%, to 12,997.75.

   Traders also sold off smaller company stocks, dragging the Russell 2000 
index 1.1% lower to 2,207.79.

   Wall Street continues to look to Washington, where economic data, comments 
out of the Federal Reserve and President Joe Biden's stimulus package remain 
front and center. Treasury yields hit the psychologically important 1.50% mark 
last week as investors braced for stronger economic growth but also a possible 
increase in inflation.

   Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell will speak Thursday on monetary policy. 
Investors heard from him last week when he testified in front of Congress, but 
the format -- a question-and-answer session with The Wall Street Journal -- may 
be more illuminating than Powell's calculated answers to politicians.

   Investors are looking ahead to the February jobs report on Friday. 
Economists surveyed by FactSet expect employers created 225,000 jobs last 
month. The report also includes numbers for how much wages are rising across 
the economy, a key component of inflation.

   Prospects are rising for passage of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 
relief package with $1,400 individual payments and there has been good news on 
vaccine distribution, so private forecasters have been busy revising upward 
their economic forecasts.

   Many believe the U.S. economy this year could see a rebound with growth 
coming in at the strongest pace since 1984. That would mark a significant 
rebound from last year when the economy contracted by the largest amount since 
1946.

   In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 16 cents to $61.44 
per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 
$1.53 on Wednesday to $61.28 per barrel. Brent crude, the international 
standard, added 21 cents to $64.29 per barrel.

 
 
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