Most emerging-market stocks fell after Moody's Investors Service said it may cut America's credit rating, heightening concern that debt burdens in the US and Europe will curb global economic growth.
More than 350 stocks in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index retreated while 270 advanced. The 21-country gauge slipped less than 0.1 per cent, after swinging between gains and losses at least 30 times, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. South Africa's rand weakened 0.6 per cent against the dollar and 0.9 per cent versus the euro to lead declines in emerging-market currencies.
Moody's began its US review amid concern political gridlock will lead to a default as talks to raise the $14.3 trillion (Dh52.52 trillion) debt limit stall. Italy sold five-year bonds at the highest yield in three years yesterday.