Economic Indicators 17/2/12

George Chamber Economic Indicators

International markets

US markets gained yesterday, as the outlook for Greece’s bailout improved and American jobless claims slid to a nearly four-year low.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 123.13 points, or 1 per cent, to 12,904.08. The S&P 500 Index gained 14.81 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 1,358.04, while the Nasdaq Composite Index surged 44.02 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 2,959.85.

European stocks recovered from sharp declines to finish roughly flat after Moody’s Investors Service placed the ratings of more than 100 European financial institutions and 16 European countries on review for possible downgrade. The Stoxx Europe 600 inched up 0.1 per cent, while Germany’s DAX and U.K.’s FTSE 100 indexes each fell 0.1 per cent.

This morning, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was up 1.6 per cent at 9386.41 and South Korea’s Kospi Composite was 1.6 per cent ahead. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was 0.7 per cent higher at 21425.93. India’s Sensex was up 1.3 per cent. Heading the other way, China’s Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.3 per cent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed at 4196.0, up 0.3 per cent.

The US dollar is currently trading at 1.31 to the euro, 1.58 to the pound and will buy 79.13 Japanese Yen or 7.77 South African Rand.

Domestic markets

South African markets fell yesterday as falling commodity prices and nagging concerns over euro zone debt dragged on resources firms.

At the close, the JSE all-share index was off 0.85 per cent to 33,801.64 points, led down by platinum, which dropped 3.09 per cent; gold slid 2.31 per cent, while the resource index lost 1.80 per cent.    Financials    were    down    0.53 per cent,    banks    lost    0.91 per cent,    while industrials dipped 0.27 per cent.

South African bonds were weaker yesterday on continued risk aversion emanating from Europe.
At the close, the R157 bond was trading at 6.670 per cent, from its previous close of 6.600 per cent. The R207 was bid at 7.785 per cent and offered at 7.755 per cent from a previous close of 7.720 per cent and the R186 was trading at 8.310 per cent from its close of 8.250 per cent..

Commodities

Brent crude remained above $120 on Friday on persistent supply worries with major European buyers cutting purchases of Iranian crude and hopes of an increase in demand as Greece edged closer to a bailout deal.

Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1732.58/oz and platinum at US$ 1634.63/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 120.32 per barrel.

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