-Stocks : The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 0.6 percent at 10:26 a.m. in New York, after U.S. equities closed little changed on Monday. Data showed U.S. retail sales dropped in February and the prior month’s gain was revised to a decline, while a separate report showed manufacturing activity in the state of New York rose in March. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. plunged 41 percent to the lowest since 2011 after cutting its sales forecast. Energy shares fell 1.5 percent, with Chesapeake Energy Corp. losing 6.1 percent, while Freeport-McMoRan Inc. sank 7.5 percent to lead materials shares lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.2 percent with commodity producers posting the biggest drop of the index’s 19 industry groups.
-Currencies: The yen appreciated 0.9 percent to 125.23 per euro after the BOJ maintained a negative policy rate and kept asset-purchase plans unchanged. While only five of 40 economists surveyed expect further easing at Tuesday’s BOJ meeting, 88 percent forecast more stimulus by the end of July. “The BOJ conceded that inflation expectations have weakened, pointing to a high near-term risk of more policy easing,” said Joseph Capurso, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. “The yen will test 110 per dollar before the middle of the year,” he said, a level last seen in October 2014.
-Commodities: WTI crude sank 2.8 percent to $36.15 a barrel, after tumbling 3.4 percent on Monday. Iran has “reasonable arguments” for not joining an alliance to cap production now, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said after meeting with his Iranian counterpart. U.S. stockpiles probably expanded last week, keeping supplies at the most since 1930, analysts predicted ahead of data due on Wednesday. Copper for delivery in three months declined 0.8 percent on the London Metal Exchange after stockpiles in China spurred concern about the strength of demand in the world’s biggest user. Inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have hit a record high.
-Bonds: U.S. Treasuries due in a decade rose, pushing the yield five basis points lower to 1.92 percent. Pacific Investment Management Co. predicts the rate will climb as high as 2.5 percent this year as inflation accelerates and the Fed raises interest rates. Euro-area government bonds declined, led by Portuguese and Spanish securities. Portugal’s 10-year yield climbed seven basis points to 3 percent, while Spain’s gained four basis points to 1.51 percent.
-Global market overview: If you look at a market screen this morning, you’ll see red across the board. U.S. stock futures are firmly in the red. European markets are declining by about 1% in early trading. Nearly every major Asian stock market ended the day with losses. Investors may be feeling disappointed after the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged without announcing fresh measures to stimulate the economy. Most commodity prices are slipping, putting pressure on the shares of global mining companies. For example, shares in Anglo American (AAUKF) are down about 9%, leading the FTSE 100 index lower in London. Crude oil futures are down by 2% to trade around $36.40 per barrel. Prices for precious metals are also declining. «The Bank of Japan decision to leave policy unchanged was a catalyst for this morning’s risk aversion though no-one was looking for any move,» noted Kit Juckes, a global strategist at Societe Generale.
– Getting fresh: Specialty grocery chain Fresh Market (TFM) is being bought by Apollo Global Management (APO) for nearly $1.4 billion. Shareholders are being offered $28.50 per share in cash. Speculation about a takeover had been swirling for weeks.
– Earnings: The main company reporting earnings this morning is Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX). The embattled drugmaker has been struggling since a short-selling firm accused it of massive fraud. The company has denied the allegations, but has remained under heavy scrutiny. Valeant said in February it would restate its 2014 and 2015 earnings after it booked millions of dollars in sales at the wrong time. Oracle (ORCL, Tech30) will report earnings after markets close.
– Economics: The U.S. Census Bureau is posting February’s retail sales report at 8:30 a.m. ET. Total sales were up in January despite a notable drag from cheap gasoline.
– Monday market recap: It was an uneventful trading day on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 0.1%, the S&P 500 dipped 0.1% and the Nasdaq was essentially unchanged.