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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slip, U.S. dollar firm on Fed outlook
March 7, 2017 / 7:18 PM / 9 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slip, U.S. dollar firm on Fed outlook

* Pharma stocks fall after Trump says he will cut drug prices

* Rate expectations underpin dollar

* Oil prices edge down, in tight range as stockpile data awaited

By Herbert Lash and Dion Rabouin

NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - A measure of major stock markets around the globe slipped on Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 on pace for their first back-to-back losses in more than a month, while expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates supported the U.S. dollar.

Shares of large U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies sold off after a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump on the need to lower drug prices. Shares of Pfizer Inc , Merck & Co and Amgen Inc each dropped around half a percent.

The U.S. dollar edged up 0.15 percent against a basket of six major trading currencies, rising 0.35 percent against the British pound and 0.2 percent against the Swiss franc ahead of the Fed’s meeting next week and backed by jitters about economic and political developments in Europe.

U.S. Treasury yields rose, supporting the dollar, as investors made room for this week’s supply of government debt and also in anticipation of a Fed rate hike later this month.

The monthly U.S. jobs report, due on Friday, is expected to show an increase of 190,000 jobs, probably enough to push the Fed to raise its base rate again for the second time in four months.

The market is taking in stride expectations the Fed will raise rates, unlike past years, said Rahul Shah, chief executive of Ideal Asset Management in New York.

“As long as we keep getting macroeconomic data that’s supportive of a rate hike we’re going to continue to see stocks rally,” Shah said. “If financials continue to rally with higher rates and industrials rally with better economic data, that could be enough to power the market higher,” he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17.91 points, or 0.09 percent, to 20,936.43, the S&P 500 lost 3.58 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,371.73 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.36 points, or 0.02 percent, to 5,847.82.

Stocks in Europe closed slightly lower as weak corporate earnings and the biggest fall in German industrial orders since the depths of the global financial crisis weighed on sentiment.

Europe’s FTSEurofirst index of the 300 leading regional shares fell 0.28 percent, pulled down by healthcare and financial stocks.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index dipped 0.16 percent.

Brent crude fell 17 cents to $55.91 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 4 cents to$53.19. Both benchmarks had traded in negative and positive territory since the start of the Asian session. Investors were waiting for the American Petroleum Institute’s inventory data on Tuesday and the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s report on Wednesday.

U.S. Treasury yields rose with the 30-year yield at its highest in more than a month as investors prepared for this week’s supply of coupon-bearing government debt led by $24 billion worth of three-year notes. They also rose after data showed the U.S. trade deficit grew in January to its widest monthly level in nearly five years.

Investors also reduced their bond holdings in anticipation of a rate increase from the Fed’s policy meeting next week.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell 6/32 in price to yield 2.5142 percent, while the 30-year yield was up nearly 2 basis points at 3.116 percent after touching its highest level since Feb. 3, Reuters data showed.

Gold slipped 0.76 percent to $1,216.06 an ounce. (Reporting by Herbert Lash and Dion Rabouin; editing by Clive McKeef and Chizu Nomiyama)

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