By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global equities was poised for its longest losing streak of the year on Wednesday as 10-year U.S. Treasury yields once again rose above the 3 percent mark, stoking concerns about rising costs that could dampen corporate earnings this year.
The benchmark 10-year note yield edged up to 3.033 percent as jitters about growing federal borrowing spurred more selling in U.S. government debt. Should it climb above 3.041 percent, its peak in January 2014, it will likely move into territory last seen in summer 2011.
Benchmark 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> last fell 10/32 in price to yield 3.0183 percent, from 2.983 percent late on Tuesday.
Yields' climb above 3 percent sapped demand for equities for a second straight session after major Wall Street indexes dropped more than 1 percent on Tuesday, when large companies such as Caterpillar <CAT.N> warned about increased costs from rising metals prices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 85.53 points, or 0.36 percent, to 23,938.6, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 6.4 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,628.16 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 13.18 points, or 0.19 percent, to 6,994.17.
Rising debt yields could prompt portfolio managers to weigh moving money into safer fixed-income securities at the expense of riskier assets like stocks and emerging markets as the Federal Reserve continues on its path to raise benchmark U.S. interest rates.
"The markets are reacting to yields moving higher," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. "The new trading range will continue to cap equities from positively responding to good earnings news."
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> lost 0.75 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 0.59 percent.
MSCI's index was on pace for its fifth straight decline, its longest losing streak since November.
But concerns about inflation-induced costs were allayed somewhat by results from Boeing <BA.N>, up 2.1 percent. The aerospace company's profit jumped by more than half in the first quarter, surging past Wall Street forecasts, and Boeing said margins had improved at the start of 2018.
Earnings season has gotten off to a stronger start than was initially expected, with the growth rate for the quarter currently at 22 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. The earnings growth expectation was 18.5 percent at the start of April and 12.2 percent at the start of the year.
All eyes will be on scandal-hit social media firm Facebook <FB.O>, down 0.3 percent, when it reports results after the closing bell.
The rally in bond yields pushed the dollar to a four-month high of 91.241 against a basket of major currencies and led investors to consider whether the greenback was breaking out of a prolonged weak spell.
The dollar index <.DXY> was last up 0.48 percent at 91.198, with the euro <EUR=> down 0.44 percent to $1.2176.
Euro zone bond yields were pulled higher by the U.S. moves though the prospect of a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday ensured a touch of caution.
Markets want to know when the ECB plans to wind down its 2.55-trillion-euro stimulus program. One policymaker, France's Francois Villeroy de Galhau, said on Tuesday the weaker run of recent economic data was expected to pass.
(Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar; Editing by James Dalgleish)