In the UK stocks have declined, sending the benchmark FTSE 100 index to its first back-to-back slide in three weeks, as mining companies including Antofagasta and Xstrata have slipped.
The benchmark has so far slipped 39.4 points, or 0.7%, to 5818.
Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB Group and Diageo have all helped pace the decline as the companies traded without the rights to their latest dividends.
Antofagasta, which owns copper miners in Chile has lost 41p, or 2%, to 1980p. The shares have risen 6.1% this year compared to a 3.7% advance in the FTSE 100. Copper futures in Shanghai fell for a third day today amid concern investors and speculators may reduce holdings of commodities.
Copper for delivery in May fell 320 yuan, or 0.7%, to settle at 45,600 yuan ($5,667) a metric ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.
Xstrata, the world's biggest exporter of coal used by power plants which also mines copper, has lost 10p, or 0.6%, to 1682p. The shares have improved 23.31% this year.
Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's second-largest bank, has fallen 61p, or 3.2%, to 1844p. Lloyds TSB, Britain's No.5 lender, has dropped 24.25p, or 4.5% to 519p.
Meanwhile, Provident Financial, the UK lender to low- income households, rose 63.5p, or 10.5%, to 670.5p. The company broke even last year as the shutdown of its car-finance division erased profits.
In Japan, stocks dropped after a report suggested US inflation may accelerate, dousing optimism the Federal Reserve will soon stop raising borrowing costs.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 98.53 points, or 0.6%, to 15,627.49 at its close a short while ago.
Softbank, in talks to buy Vodafone’s Japan mobile-phone unit, fell 80 yen, or 2.6% to 3,060, after plunging 8.5% yesterday after the Nihon Keizai newspaper said the deal may cost the company as much as 2trn yen ($17bn), will cause Softbank's debt to balloon and force it into a price war with larger rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI.
Banks such as Mitsubishi UFJ, declined on speculation higher local rates will threaten to increase interest costs and reduce loan demand, hurting profit. Japan's biggest lender by assets fell 20,000 yen, or 1.2%, to 1.65m. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, the third biggest lender in Japan, lost 10,000 yen, or 0.8%, to 1.25m.
Meanwhile companies that rely on overseas sales fell on concern that higher borrowing costs in the US, Japan's biggest export market, may discourage businesses and consumers from spending.
Canon, the world's biggest digital camera maker, lost 80 yen, or 1.1%, to 7,300. Advantest, the world's biggest maker of memory-chip testing equipment, declined 250 yen, or 1.9%, to 12,860. Nissan fell 14 yen, or 1%, to 1,343. It had more than half of its sales in North America last year.
Mining stocks as a group had the biggest percentage drop, losing 4.2% along with a decline in oil prices. Inpex, Japan's largest oil explorer, fell 50,000 yen, or 4.6%, to 1.05m. Teikoku Oil, which will merge with Inpex in April, declined 71 yen, or 4.5%, to 1,495.
In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average clawed back 22.10 points, or 0.2%, to end on 10,980.69 yesterday after falling 63.00 points, or 0.57%, on Monday.
But stocks closed mostly lower yesterday on resurgent fears of rising interest rates. Investors sold as bond yields remained high, government data showed wages rising and a Federal Reserve official warned more interest rate hikes may be needed.
Wall Street was nervously watching the Treasury market after yields surged Monday to their strongest level since June 2004, pushed up by investor worries about inflation in the US and rising interest rates in Japan and Europe. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note Tuesday fell to 4.73% from 4.74% late Monday.
Rising interest rates would not only make loans to consumers and businesses more expensive, they could also make bonds a more attractive investment than stocks.IFAonline
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