U.S. stocks finished flat yesterday, as concerns over a weakening economy in Europe gave investors pause after the market’s recent gains. The euro fell near 16-month lows against the US dollar after Fitch warned of dire consequences for the currency if the European Central Bank does not take more action.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 13.02 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 12449.45, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index inched up 0.40 point, or 0.03 per cent, to 1292.48, while the Nasdaq Composite added 8.26 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 2710.76.
European equity markets dropped yesterday, as energy stocks fell along with crude prices and as concerns about the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis weighed on sentiment.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed down 0.4 per cent at 249.9. The German DAX 30 index fell 0.2 per cent to 6,152.34. Losses for U.K. energy stocks left the FTSE 100 index down 0.5 per cent at 5,670.82 and the French CAC 40 index fell 0.2 per cent to 3,204.83.
This morning, Asian stock markets were mostly lower, as easing inflation in China failed to overcome worries over fresh stresses in Europe’s economy.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average slipped 0.7 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index lost 0.2 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.1 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.1 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi however traded up 0.5 per cent.
The US dollar is currently trading at 1.27 to the euro, 1.53 to the pound and will buy 76.89 Japanese Yen or 8.09 South African Rand.
The JSE moved into negative territory at the close on Wednesday as Europe concerns returned to the fore.
At the close, the JSE all-share index had dropped 0.58 per cent. Gold stocks fell 1.67 per cent, resources lessened 0.46 per cent, but platinum shares were static (- 0.05 per cent). Industrials lost 0.83 per cent, financials dipped 0.21 per cent and banks edged down 0.17 per cent.
South African bonds were mostly firmer yesterday.
By the close, the R157 bond was trading at 6.780 per cent from a previous close of 6.800 per cent. The R207 was bid at 8.045 per cent and offered at 8.015 per cent from a previous close of 8.010 per cent and the R186 was trading at 8.570 per cent from its close of 8.575 per cent.
Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1646.03/oz and platinum at US$ 1499.50/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 113.05 per barrel.