Wall Street rises on inflation data but on track for weekly losses

13 August, 2017, 19:12 | Author: Terri Saunders

Investors' unease over escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea had weighed on stocks earlier in the day, pushing gold and bond prices slightly higher. The S&P 500 index was down 18.45 points to 2,455.57 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 68.32 points to 6,284.01.

Declines in USA stocks accelerated Thursday, a pullback that many investors and analysts said was overdue with indexes at highs and volatility at record lows.

All the 11 major S&P indexed were lower, with technology sector's 0.62% leading the decliners. The won declined as much as 0.8 per cent, falling to a three-week low, while the cost of insuring five-year South Korean sovereign bonds from non-payment climbed and the Kospi 200 volatility index jumped as much as 30 per cent. The Nasdaq composite lost 37 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,332.

However, the market changed its direction after President Trump warned North Korea that threats will be "met with fire and fury".

"The escalation of the geopolitical situation between the USA and North Korea is beginning to rattle investors' nerves as was witnessed in the VIX index yesterday", said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. Havens such as gold have risen, with contracts for August delivery rising 0.8% to $1,283.70 on Thursday.

More than £27 billion was wiped off the value of blue-chip stocks on Thursday as investors remained spooked by the simmering tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Valeant's stock, which rallied a day before following quarterly results, sank 9.6 percent to C$17.85 after it said its subsidiaries in Australia were the subject of a tax audit. The company's stock (NYSE:DIS) dropped $4.15, or 3.88 per cent, to US$102.83.

Data showed USA producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while another set showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

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In Asia, markets were mostly lower after disappointing Chinese trade data.

By 4.10pm, the fall was hovering between 99 and 100 points - around 1.34% - down.

The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. And certainly, many believe confidence is too high: On a cyclically adjusted price-earnings basis, US equity valuations have already exceeded the highs seen before the 1929 crash.

Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. slid 6.2 percent after the theme park operator reported second-quarter revenue that fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 35 cents to $49.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 slid 1.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6%. The September copper contract was down two cents to US$2.91 a pound. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar weakened to 110.35 yen from 110.72 yen.

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