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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks turns lower; bond yields up on mixed data

Barani Krishnan
Wednesday, 4 Dec 2013 | 1:15 PM ET

* Stocks down as ADP, home sales data counter services numbers

* Dollar gives back early gains

* European shares fall, world shares down for third day

* Aussie dollar hits three-month low

NEW YORK, Dec 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell back on Wednesday after a brief rebound while Treasury yields edged higher as strong data on U.S. private-sector jobs growth and home sales raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will roll back its stimulus sooner than later.

The to-and-fro of when the Fed will begin to scale back its monthly bond-buying of $85 billion has dominated market headlines for months. This week's U.S. data run, ending in Friday's non-farm payrolls for November, may tip the balance yet again.

Polls of analysts and traders still point firmly to the U.S. central bank holding fire until March. But some stronger data has reheated speculation the Fed could move earlier, and that boosted U.S. Treasury yields, with the 10-year benchmark yield rising to 2.85 percent on Wednesday, the highest since mid-September.

Payroll processor ADP reported the U.S. private sector added jobs in November at the fastest pace in a year. ADP reported 215,000 new hires were added last month, versus analysts' expectations for 173,000.

"In the short term, the market is still worried about the most inevitable thing in our lifetime and that is tapering" of the Fed stimulus, said Mike Serio, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Denver, Colorado.

The figures also caused the spread, or yield differential, between short- and long-dated bonds to widen. An increasing difference is generally considered a sign of positive expectations for economic growth.

"The market is pricing in a slightly higher probability of a tapering in December or January," said Mike Cullinane, head of Treasuries trading at D.A. Davidson in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The reaction in the stock market was mixed. Equities initially declined, then rebounded after the ADP numbers before turning lower again. A weaker-than-expected report on service-sector growth tempered the market's concerns somewhat.

"The data continues to be mixed. The Fed is not tapering in December the way everyone started to chatter the last couple of days and the market now realizes that," said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.

Investors are worried that a reduction in stimulus will cause a sharp rise in interest rates, raising borrowing costs for mortgages and other loans that will pinch economic demand.

Wall Street's Dow Jones industrial average was down 41.00 points, or 0.26 percent, at 15,873.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 4.87 points, or 0.27 percent, at 1,790.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 6.45 points, or 0.16 percent, at 4,030.75.

World stocks fell for a third straight day, with Europe taking another tumble and Japan's Nikkei index recoiling from Tuesday's surprising six-year highs.

In commodities, benchmark Brent crude oil edged lower after a two-day rally and gold rebounded from five-month lows.

The pan-European FTSEEurofirst 200 and the MSCI world share index both fell 0.6 percent. The Nikkei lost 2.2 percent overnight.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 19/32, its yield at 2.8443 percent.

U.S. bond prices trimmed losses after the Institute for Supply Management said its services index fell to 53.9 last month from 55.4 in October, supporting the view that the Fed would hold any quick paring on its stimulus.

The dollar edged lower against the euro, trading at $1.3577, after an initial 0.3 percent gain sparked by euro zone service sector data that showed weaker November activity in Italy and France and growth in Spain and Germany.

The Australian dollar saw its biggest fall since July, hitting a three-month low of $0.8999 after data showed its economy running more slowly than expected.

MSCI's emerging market index marked a third day in the red, while the Indonesian rupiah weakened 0.9 percent to 11,975 rupiah per dollar after earlier falling to 12,000 to match a near five-year low touched last week.

In oil, benchmark Brent crude initially jumped to above $113 a barrel ahead of this week's OPEC meeting before falling to around $112 later. U.S. crude bucked the trend, rising 1.2 percent after a sharp U.S. inventory drop.

Gold, which like stocks has benefited from the U.S. stimulus because of inflation fears, rose 1.5 percent to above $1,240 an ounce after Tuesday's five-month low of $1,215.60.