After solid gains in the previous session, international markets collectively peeled lower overnight.
In Europe the FTSE shed 37 points (-0.6%) to settle at 5838, whilst the CAC (-1.6%) and DAX (-1.1%) also suffered hefty losses.
Stateside, the Dow Jones gave up 65 points (+0.5%) to settle at 13200, whilst the S&P (-0.4%) and Nasdaq (-0.2%) were of by a similar amount.
US stocks fell after details from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting offered no signals that immediate monetary stimulus is on the way, prompting investors to question whether the rally can continue without a prime driver.
The Fed minutes showed agreement that the economic recovery has strengthened moderately, but left investors to question the central bank’s appetite for launching additional bond buying, or other new programs, to shore up growth.
Orders for factory goods rose in February, coming in just short of expectations, on rising demand for machinery, computers and aircraft.
Elsewhere, new-vehicle sales in March from the Detroit Three missed the expectations of industry researcher Edmunds.com, though sales figures topped year-earlier levels and were near the best since before the financial crisis.
The Aussie dollar fell sharply overnight and is now buying just a little over US$1.03, whilst the greenback advanced to its strongest level in a week against the euro after the Fed policy meeting minutes showed the central bank is holding off from increasing monetary stimulus.
Oil declined for the first time in three sessions as US factory orders climbed less than expected in February and the Federal Reserve said it’s holding off on increasing monetary accommodation.
Elsewhere, gold slumped the most in more than four weeks, with the precious metal giving up 1.9% to settle at $1648 an ounce.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of the AIG services index (10:30am, AEST) and the trade balance (12:30pm, AEST).