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Money Markets Remain Stressed as Stocks Bounce Around

Stock markets were flat on Tuesday as the U.S. economy grew slower in the third quarter than estimated earlier, and the euro surrendered gains against the dollar after Spanish and Italian bond yields surged.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 index remained below 1,200 points after data showed U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, down from a previous estimate of 2.5 percent.

While the stock market was quiet, tension continued to grow in funding markets, the key arteries of the financial system.

Severe dollar funding strains supported the U.S. dollar as European banks scrambled to secure cash in dollars after their longtime vehicle for short-term funds – U.S. prime money markets – have continued to cut exposure to that market.

Stress in the dollar money market showed little sign of abating, with the cost of swapping euros to dollars for three months near its widest level since 2008 on Tuesday.

U.S. Treasuries turned higher as safe-haven assets continued to attract demand. <US/>

Gold <GOL/>, theoretically a buy in times of distress, rose along with bonds, as did other commodities like oil <O/R>, copper <MET/L> and grains <GRA/> as investors looked for places to put their money besides stocks.

“It’s going to be tough sailing with no real clear-cut signs of global growth, coupled with the geopolitical situation on a worldwide basis,” said Michael Mullaney, a portfolio manager who helps manage $9.5 billion at Fiduciary Trust Co in Boston.

Half an hour after the open, Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 17.07 points, or 0.15 percent, at 11,530.24. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was up 0.05 points, or 0.00 percent, at 1,193.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 4.49 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,527.63.

World stocks as measured by MSCI .MIWD00000PUS were up 0.02 percent. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 fell 0.08 percent after a 3.3 percent loss on Monday.

“This does not look like any weakness that one could buy into with a high degree of confidence,” said Jeremy Batstone-Carr, strategist at Charles Stanley.

Spain’s Treasury paid the highest yields in 14 years to issue short-term bills, heaping pressure on center-right Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy to soothe nervous markets by fleshing out austerity plans following Sunday’s emphatic election victory.


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