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Wall Street dips, dollar gains on economic, geopolitical concerns

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·3-min read
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By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended a choppy session lower on Tuesday, while the dollar rallied as risk appetite was dampened by economic uncertainties and escalating U.S.-China tensions.

All three major U.S. stock indexes closed red, with the blue-chip Dow faring worst. Economically sensitive transports underperformed the broader market.

Meanwhile, the safe-haven greenback had a better day than most asset classes, jumping 0.8% against a basket of world currencies.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's arrival in Taipei, despite warnings from Beijing, prompted Chinese war planes to buzz the Taiwan Strait in protest.

"There is the uncertainty surrounding Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan and there’s additional data, regarding economic softness," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of CFRA Research in New York. "Regarding recession, it’s not a question of 'if' but 'when and how deep.'"

On the economic front, a report from the Labor Department showed job openings in the United States dropped by 5.4% in June, a sign that the labor market is easing amid softening demand.

That softening demand for workers could translate to cooling wage inflation, and analysts expect Friday's employment report to show hourly earnings growth cooled 0.2 percentage point last month to 4.9%.

Still, comments by Fed officials suggested more interest rate hikes are in the offing.

"What’s happening in the markets is a push-and-pull about where we are economically," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. "It’s a matter of whether the Fed continue to raise rates to fight inflation or pivot and stop raising rates as the economy weakens."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 402.23 points, or 1.23%, to 32,396.17, the S&P 500 lost 27.44 points, or 0.67%, to 4,091.19 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.22 points, or 0.16%, to 12,348.76.

Weak economic data and rising Sino-U.S. tensions also pulled European stocks to a lower close.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.32% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.93%.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.25%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.26% lower, while Japan's Nikkei lost 1.42%.

U.S. Treasury yields edged higher amid volatile trading, hawkish comments from the Fed helped investors look past the brewing geopolitical turmoil over Pelosi's Taiwan visit.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 43/32 in price to yield 2.761%, from 2.605% late on Monday.

The 30-year bond last fell about 3/4 in price to yield 3.0268%, from 2.925% late on Monday.

Crude prices advanced ahead of the OPEC+ meeting of oil producers expected this week, who could opt against increasing global crude supply amid signs of waning demand.

U.S. crude rose 0.56% to settle at $94.42 per barrel, while Brent settled at $100.54 per barrel, up 0.51% on the day.

The dollar reversed recent losses against a basket of world currencies.

The dollar index rose 0.79%, with the euro down 0.93% to $1.0166.

The Japanese yen weakened 1.12% versus the greenback at 133.13 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2166, down 0.67% on the day.

Gold reversed earlier gains to snap its four-day winning streak.

Spot gold dropped 0.6% to $1,761.29 an ounce.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp in New York; Additional reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)

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