U.S. stocks fell for a second day, joining a retreat in global shares after a rout in fixed-income markets spread to equities.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.3 percent to 2,099.08 at 4 p.m. in New York. The gauge all but erased a 0.9 percent slide as the 10-year Treasury note yield retreated from the highest level since November. The benchmark index ended Friday two points shy of a record before declining to start this week.
"When you have stocks at the high end of the historical range you need better news than what we have," said Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in Newton, Massachusetts. "This rise in rates isn't coming from a better economy or a fundamental reason."
The S&P 500 arrested its slide as Treasuries reversed, and energy shares advanced with the price of crude after the group Monday fell the most since January.
"The only thing has been a turnaround in the bond market, with yields lower making stocks more attractive," said Thomas Garcia, the head of equity trading at Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Thornburg Investment Management Inc. "It seems as though the equity investors don't believe rates are going up and the bond investors do. Or maybe it's just that equity investors believe it, but it will be at a slow pace."
A global fixed-income rout is spreading to other markets as the European Central Bank's quantitative easing helps push global debt valuations to extreme levels while traders grow more confident that the Federal Reserve will delay raising interest rates until later this year to allow for the economic recovery to gain momentum.
Although the timing is uncertain, the Fed's first rate increase since 2006 will usher in a "regime shift" that will stir financial markets when it occurs, said New York Fed President William C. Dudley on Tuesday.
San Francisco Fed President John Williams, who votes on policy this year, said the Fed could decide to begin raising interest rates at any policy meeting, and that he is in "wait and see mode" headed into the next gathering in June.