NEW YORK | By Lewis Krauskopf
Light is cast on a Japanese 10,000 yen note as it's reflected in a plastic board in Tokyo, in this February 28, 2013 picture illustration.
Reuters/Shohei Miyano/File Photo
The yen tumbled against the U.S. dollar on Monday as Japan signaled it was ready to intervene in the currency market, while a drop in oil prices undercut stocks.
U.S. stock indexes were little changed as the energy sector fell 1.5 percent. Europe's broad stock index gained, supported by a 1.1-percent rise for Germany's DAX index .GDAXI amid positive news for the country's economy.
U.S. Treasury yields fell as investors lowered estimates that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June, after Friday's weaker-than-expected April jobs report.
"Today, really you’re seeing just that back-and-forth that has been here for months: very tight ranges, modest movements and just a mix between uncertainty and having such low interest rates that there isn’t somewhere else to go,” said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"There isn’t a lot of conviction on the part of global investors for any of the asset classes," Meckler said.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was falling 39.1 points, or 0.22 percent, at 17,701.53, while the S&P 500 .SPX was gaining 3.1 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,060.24. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was adding 24.26 points, or 0.51 percent, at 4,760.42.
The benchmark S&P 500 is up slightly in 2016 after recovering from a rough start to the year, with volatility in oil prices causing jitters in other markets.
"To break out and rally above the recent highs, we need oil to stabilize in the $40 to $60 range," said Jack DeGan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 climbed 0.5 percent.
China's exports and imports fell more than expected in April, underlining weak demand at home and abroad.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index .BVSP fell 1.4 percent, while its currency weakened 0.8 percent against the dollar BRL=, as the acting speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress annulled the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff.
MSCI's world equity index .MIWD00000PUS slipped 0.1 percent after posting its worst weekly performance since mid-February last week.
The U.S. dollar gained 1.3 percent against the yen
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Tokyo is ready to intervene if yen moves are volatile enough to hurt the country's trade and economy.
The Japanese currency last week had hit a 1-1/2 year high against the greenback.
"There is a risk of either currency intervention or BOJ (Bank of Japan) monetary policy easing in the months ahead, a risk that is, at least for now, keeping the yen's upside limited," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar .DXY gained 0.3 percent.
Oil prices fell as traders took in their stride the impact of wildfires on Canada's oil output and after another inventory build at the U.S. hub for crude futures delivery.
U.S. crude CLc1 settled down 2.7 percent at $43.44 a barrel, while benchmark Brent LCOc1 settled off 3.8 percent at $43.63 a barrel. Oil prices have recovered some ground after touching 12-year lows earlier in 2016.
U.S. Treasury yields fell as investors evaluated when the Fed is likely to raise rates.
Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were last up 5/32 in price to yield 1.7595 percent, down from 1.777 percent late on Friday.
Copper prices CMCU3 fell 2.6 percent as weak trade data from China highlighted poor demand growth prospects.