Stocks across the globe fell on Wednesday on concerns over economic growth but were off their session lows after crude oil futures turned higher following U.S. data.
The first contraction in the U.S. services sector since October 2013 weighed on financial stocks but energy shares cut losses as Brent gained nearly 3 percent.
Oil prices rose after strong U.S. gasoline demand offset worries over record high crude stockpiles in the world’s largest economy.
“For the near-term, volatility stays and will hinge on what happens in the crude market,” said Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust in Devon, Pennsylvania.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 135.7 points, or 0.83 percent, to 16,296.08, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 15 points, or 0.78 percent, to 1,906.27 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 28.39 points, or 0.63 percent, to 4,475.19.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 share index .FTEU3 fell 2.3 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks globally .MIWD00000PUS fell 1.1 percent.
Government data showed U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose by 3.5 million barrels in the United States last week to an all-time peak above 507 million barrels. But gasoline demand over the past four weeks rose more than 5 percent compared to a year ago and inventories of the fuel also fell from lower refinery runs.
Brent crude LCOc1, the global benchmark, rose 3 percent to $34.26 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 added 0.2 percent to $31.95.
The reversal in oil and smaller decline in stocks pushed yields on the lowest-risk government bonds slightly higher, though they were still lower on the day.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. notes US10YT=RR were last up 14/32 in price to yield 1.6985 percent, down from 1.745 percent late Tuesday. At their session low the yield was 1.647 percent.
In currency markets, the yen, often sought by investors as a shelter when riskier assets are under pressure, hit an almost three-year high against the euro EURJPY= of 122.43 yen. At 111.42, it rose 0.7 percent versus the U.S. dollar JPY=.
The euro EUR= was little changed versus the greenback at $1.1016. The dollar index .DXY slipped 0.1 percent.