LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) – World stocks fell on Monday and the euro hit four-year lows against the dollar as investors reacted to signs the U.S. economic recovery may be slowing and to new debt worries centred on eastern Europe.
MSCI’s all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS was down around 1 percent, off its lows, and its emerging market counterpart .MSCIEF was off 2.3 percent.
But Wall Street looked set for small gains and European shares pared losses after better-than-expected German manufacturing data.
Investors sold off shares on Friday and continued into Monday after monthly U.S. jobs data disappointed, adding fewer jobs than expected while a large portion were temporary hirings for the U.S. Census.
That triggered concerns that the recovery in the world’s largest economy is not as robust as believed.
At the same time, other fears centred on Hungary, where ruling party officials suggested there was only a slim chance of it avoiding a Greece-style debt crisis.
“The jobs data may have changed market sentiment a bit because the numbers for this important indicator showed what people have been suspecting for a while, that the U.S. economic recovery may be slowing a little,” said Hiroaki Osakabe, fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management in Japan.
“Then you have this combined with signs that the euro zone debt problems may be very deep-rooted. Both of these put together are sparking selling.”
Hungary itself is of minimal importance on the global level, but there are concerns about exposure among leading banks if Hungary defaults or if the fall in the forint fuels a rise in loan delinquency among Hungarians who have borrowed heavily in euros and Swiss francs.
It also comes hard on the heels of worries about defaults in Greece and other southern euro zone members.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 was down 0.1 percent. Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei .N225 closed down 3.84 percent.
The euro fell broadly, hitting its lowest in more than four years against the dollar. Higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar also fell as equities and commodity prices took a knock.
Market players said the single currency’s close below $1.2135 on Friday, marking a 50 percent retracement of its 2000-2008 rally, was a bearish chart signal and was adding to the single currency’s woes.
Lack of any expression of strong concerns at a weekend meeting of G20 finance ministers over the weekend or from euro zone policymakers also spurred euro selling, traders said.
“The worries about Hungary came at a time when the market is really sensitive to any negative economic news and it has affected risk sentiment all over the world, while the U.S. non-farm payroll data added to the negative feeling,” said Elisabeth Andreew, currency strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen.
The euro was at $1.1972 EUR.
On bond markets, core euro zone government futures marked a record high. (Additional reporting by Jessica Mortimer; editing by Jason Webb)