Global stocks, dollar slide as U.S. impasse frays nerves

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar and global equity markets fell on Monday as the impasse over the week-old U.S. government shutdown got entangled in negotiations to raise Washington's borrowing limit or risk default on U.S. sovereign debt.

A lack of progress by U.S. lawmakers in budget and debt ceiling talks rattled investors, pulling stocks on Wall Street down and sending European shares to a four-month low.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner vowed not to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without a "serious conversation" about what is driving the debt, while Democrats said it was irresponsible and reckless to raise the possibility of a U.S. default.

The dollar fell, hovering near an eight-month low against a basket of major trading currencies, and crude oil prices slipped as the government shutdown and looming fight over the debt ceiling clouded the economic outlook.

"Last week investors were hopeful that the government shutdown would be short-lived," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

"Now that it's entering its second week, investors are growing a bit more edgy and that's being played out in weaker world stocks and the dollar staying on the defensive."

MSCI's all-country world stock index <.MIWD00000PUS>, which tracks equity performance in 45 countries, was down 0.49 percent.

European stocks drifted lower in thin trading as the U.S. budget impasse dragged on, pushing the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top regional shares down 0.21 percent to 1,241.09, its lowest close in four weeks.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 83.76 points, or 0.56 percent, at 14,988.82. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 7.95 points, or 0.47 percent, at 1,682.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 24.07 points, or 0.63 percent, at 3,783.68.

The benchmark S&P 500 has fallen for two weeks and is down nearly 3 percent from its all-time closing high of 1,725.52 reached on September 18.

The financial <.SPSY> and energy <.SPNY> sectors were among the worst performers, down 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

"Thus far, investors have felt assured that they are watching the re-run of an old cliffhanger movie, but the rising frequency of the replay has instilled a sense of deja-vu," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

Investors flocked to perceived safe havens like the yen and Swiss franc, driving the dollar to it weakest since mid-August against the Japanese currency.

The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.22 percent to 79.941, after earlier trading at a low of 79.914, not far from an eight-month low of 79.627 hit on Thursday.

The dollar fell 0.37 percent to 0.9037 Swiss franc. The euro rose 0.15 percent to $1.3577. Against the yen, the dollar fell 0.58 percent to 96.89 yen.

Crude oil futures on both sides of the Atlantic pared losses after a sharp drop in earlier trade, following a report that a key pipeline delivering crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, had resumed shipping after an earlier outage.

Operations of the Seaway oil pipeline, through which crude oil flows from Cushing to Gulf Coast refineries, resumed after a brief shutdown, industry intelligence firm Genscape reported early on Monday. Cushing is the delivery point for the U.S. oil futures contract.

Brent pared losses to settle 22 cents higher at $109.68 a barrel. The benchmark ended higher last week, snapping a three-week losing run.

U.S. crude pared some losses, but still settled 81 cents lower at $103.03 a barrel.

U.S. Treasuries prices gained as lawmakers in Washington showed no progress toward ending the partial government shutdown. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 3/32 in price to yield 2.6338 percent.

Low-risk euro zone bonds pushed higher, with safe-haven German Bunds outpaced the rest of the euro zone market. Bund futures rose 35 ticks to settle at 140.31.

(Additional reporting by Richard Hubbard, Wanfeng Zhou in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Nick Zieminski)

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