Wall St stops stocks' bleeding, for now; gold, yen tick up

12 August, 2017, 12:24 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • European Shares Plummet

More than 430 stocks from all USA exchanges hit their lowest levels in 52 weeks or more on Thursday, the most for any session since mid-November right after Trump was elected.

Disappointing economic data releases weighed on both sides of the Atlantic today with a negative goods trade balance for the United Kingdom (-0.1% versus expectations of 1.4%), higher unemployment claims from the U.S. (244,000) and also a negative month-on-month PPI figure for the USA (-0.1%).

ANALYST TAKE: "We're seeing significant risk aversion in the markets on Wednesday, with the escalation in tensions between the USA and North Korea triggering moves into safe haven assets", said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 lost 1.11 percent.

Many markets have climbed to record or multi-year highs, leaving them vulnerable to a sell-off.

The North Korea situation isn't the only thing weighing on stocks. The dollar index slipped to a one-week low on Friday after the USA data.

The Dow Jones industrials average gained 14.31 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,858.32.

Global markets have been on edge since Tuesday, when President Donald Trump warned North Korea of severe retribution should the authoritarian state proceed with any more missile tests or threats. The Fed, which raised its key interest rate in March and June, has signaled it plans a third rate hike before the end of this year. The stock has more than doubled over the past 12 months, gaining more than 160%.

Equity markets had traded with a soft tone in Europe and there was a sharp increase in selling pressure in NY with the S&P 500 index declining by close to 1.0%.

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Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who has advocated for the Fed to halt interest rate hikes until inflation picks up gain, on Friday said his colleagues are telling each other "a ghost story (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-kashkari-says-central-banks-hawks-are-spooked-by-ghost-story-of-higher-wages-2017-08-11)" about higher wage inflation that scared them into raising short-term rates.

J.C. Penney sank 16.6 percent after the struggling department store chain reported quarterly results that fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 7/32 in price to yield 2.1888 percent, from 2.211 percent late on Thursday.

U.S. crude rose 0.41 per cent to US$48.79 per barrel and Brent was last at US$52.01, up 0.21 per cent. Silver gained 1 cent to $17.07 an ounce.

The dollar last changed hands at 108.96 yen, down 0.2 percent. The euro fell to $1.1728 from $1.1757. The index bounced off its lowest closing level in six months. While the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line, the UK's FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both tumbled by 1.1%.

Australian shares were down 1.2 percent, set for a weekly loss of 0.5 percent.

There were falls of almost 2% on South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, with markets in mainland China and Australia also down - taking their cues from sharp losses on Wall Street earlier.

It is "a bullish sign that the equity markets are rebounding somewhat on a Friday, in spite of the fact that investors will need to wait for two days to react to any geopolitical news that comes out over the weekend", said Robert Phipps, a director at Per Stirling Capital Management in Austin, Texas. Trading was thinner than usual, with Japanese markets closed for a public holiday.

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