U.S. markets fell after some disappointing economic reports. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was higher than expected, a sign of lost momentum in the labour market, manufacturers saw business conditions the month decline more than anticipated and sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. fell in March for the second consecutive month.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 68.65 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 12964.10. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index shed 8.22 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 1376.92, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 23.89 points or 0.79 per cent to 3007.56.
Similarly, European markets declined, with the Stoxx Europe 600 falling 0.5 per cent.
Spain sold €2.54 billion ($3.3 billion) of two- and 10-year bonds, just above the upper end of the range the government had targeted, but the yield on the 10-year bond came in higher than at the previous auction not doing enough to ease fears.
The French CAC 40 index gave up 2.1 per cent to 3,174.02. The DAX 30 index was off 0.9 per cent at 6,671.22 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index ended virtually unchanged at 5,744.55.
Most Asian stock markets dropped this morning as disappointing U.S. economic data depressed demand, with Korean and Japanese exporters underperforming on concerns about the global growth outlook.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.3 per cent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 eased 0.1 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi Composite slid 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.3 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6 per cent and India’s Sensex declined 0.3 per cent.
The US dollar is currently trading at 1.32 to the euro, 1.61 to the pound and will buy 81.65 Japanese Yen or 7.84 South African Rand.
The JSE closed higher yesterday earlier reports out of the US. At the close, the JSE all-share index was up 0.17 per cent at 34106.92 points, with resources 0.4 per cent higher, and industrials gaining 0.19percent. Platinum miners were down 1.01percent, banks fell 0.86 per cent and financials gave up 0.23 per cent. Gold miners were flat (-0.03 per cent).
The South Africa’s rand and government bonds slipped yesterday after some concerns about the euro zone debt crisis.
At the close, the R157 bond was bid at 6.510 per cent and offered at 6.495 per cent from its previous close of 6.495 per cent. The R207 was bid at 7.590 per cent and offered at 7.570 per cent from a previous close of 7.580 per cent and the R186 bid at 8.170 per cent and offered at 8.145 per cent from its close of 8.150 per cent.
Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1644.53/oz and platinum at US$ 1581.00/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 118.37 per barrel.