Germany's benchmark stock index slumped into bear market territory Thursday, following along with steep declines for global stocks, amid concerns that the arrest of the CFO of Huawei Technologies, the world's biggest smartphone maker, could end the uneasy trade war truce between Washington and Beijing.
The DAX performance index was marked 3.2% lower by late-afternoon trading in Frankfurt and quoted at 10,842.99 points, taking its decline from the January 23 peak to just over 20%, a move puts the broadest measure of shares in Europe's largest economy into bear market territory. Automakers and industrial stocks lead the decline, with luxury automaker Daimler AG (DMLRY) falling 5.3% and Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) sliding 3.75% on concern that a re-escalation of the U.S.-China trade war could put barriers to exports to Germany's two biggest markets.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index, the regional benchmark, was marked 2.7% lower and looks on pace for its biggest single-day decline since the June 2016 Brexit vote.
In the United States, Treasury bond yields extended declines Thursday, while a key inflation metric taken from market rates hit the lowest level in more than a year, as investors continued to bet that slowing growth and increasing trade tensions will keep the Federal Reserve from making multiple interest rate hikes in 2019.
Benchmark 10-year note yields slipped to 2.856% in early Thursday trading as U.S. stocks, and global equity markets, traded sharply lower.The move in 10-year yields, however, was met by similar declines in 2-year notes, which backed up to 2.863%, taking slope of the so-called yield curve to around 13.3 basis points, still near the lowest in a decade but 4 basis points steeper than Tuesday's early trading lows.
So-called breakeven inflation rates for five years, which are derived from inflation-protected bonds sold by the U.S. Treasury and known as TIPS, traded at 1.687%, the lowest since September 2017, while 10-year breakeven rates were quoted at a one-year low of 1.904%.
In Europe, benchmark 10-year bund yields, a proxy for risk-free borrowing in the single currency area, fell to a six-month low of 0.236% while French government bonds, known as OATs, were marked at 0.65%.