Markets sink on rising US bond yields

London - Asian and European stock markets slid on Wednesday on profit-taking, as investors fretted over rising US Treasury yields and speculation that interest rates will rise four times this year.

New York equities had tumbled on Tuesday after the yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond hit 3.0% for the first time in more than four years.

"The European markets looked increasingly ugly as on Wednesday went on, investors fearing what could happen after the US open," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

Frankfurt was spooked the most by overnight losses on Wall Street, with the benchmark DAX index shipping more than 1.6% in value, while London and Paris each slid 0.6%.

"European stock markets are in the red ... as traders lock in their profits," added CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The yield on the US 10-year government bond is back above 3.0%, and this is also a factor in the equity sell-off as investors seek attractive returns from assets that are deemed to be lower risk."

Comcast formalises Sky bid

London losses were tempered somewhat after US media giant Comcast confirmed a $31bn firm offer for Sky.

The news, which threatened to derail media mogul Rupert Murdoch's attempt to take full control of Sky, sent shares in the British pay-TV giant soaring more than 4%.

In response to the Comcast news, Sky announced it had withdrawn its support for 21st Century Fox's 11.4 billion bid for the 61% of the UK broadcaster that it does not already own.

Asian markets earlier reversed tack after fresh losses on Wall Street.

Technology firms were once again in the firing line on Tuesday as Google parent Alphabet plunged on cost worries, while Apple shares sank on concerns over the crucial smartphone sector.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries broke through 3% on Tuesday as surging oil prices and the impact of President Trump's huge tax cuts fan inflation expectations.

  'Wave of selling' 

"The US 10-year yield finally tagged the psychological 3% barrier and this seemingly weighed on risk sentiment whilst (tech) stocks were hit with a wave of selling," noted XTB analyst David Cheetham.

There is a fear the higher yields will divert investor attention from equities as safe-bet government debt looks more attractive.

That, along with an improving economy, has fanned talk the Federal Reserve will have to raise borrowing costs more than expected this year.

In Asia, Tokyo ended 0.3% lower as a weaker yen was unable to provide support.

Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda plunged 7% after it ramped up its offer for rival Shire, which is based in Ireland but listed in London.

Rare diseases specialist Shire indicated its willingness to recommend the latest 46-billion bid, subject to certain conditions.

That sent its share price rallying 1.39% to 39.84 in the British capital.

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