Economic Indicator 4/6/12

Economic Indicators George Chamber

International markets

US markets fell yesterday to close out the worst month since September as investor sentiment sank on Europe’s deepening credit problems.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 26.41 points, to 12,393.45. The S&P 500 Index fell 2.99 points, to 1,310.33. The Nasdaq Composite lost 10.02 points, to 2,827.34.

Similarly, European markets moved lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended down 0.3 per cent at 239.73. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index edged up 0.2 per cent on the day to 5306.95; however, its 7.5 per cent slide over the month was the biggest drop since February 2009. France’s CAC-40 rose a fraction, to 3017.01 and Germany’s DAX lost 0.3 per cent on the day, to 6264.38, but its 7.3 per cent drop for the month was its worst performance since August 2011.

This morning, Asian markets sank on growing concerns Spain may have to seek a bailout while Chinese manufacturing data disappointed.

Tokyo fell 0.28 per cent, or 23.89 points, to 8,633.19, while Seoul was 0.27 per cent, or 5.05 points, lower at 1,844.86. Hong Kong tumbled 1.92 per cent, or 365.24 points, to 18,690.22 and Shanghai slipped 0.21 per cent, or 4.97 points, to 2,384.67..

The US dollar is currently trading at 1.24 to the euro, 1.54 to the pound and will buy 78.43 Japanese Yen or 8.53 South African Rand.

Domestic markets

THE JSE ended firmer yesterday, lifted mainly by a rally in gold shares, due to the weaker rand.

At the close‚ the JSE all-share index was up 0.53 per cent to 33142.61 points‚ with gold shares gaining 4.20 per cent‚ while resources were flat (0.04 per cent) and platinum lost 0.38 per cent. Financials lifted 0.73 per cent‚ banking stocks garnered 0.84 per cent and industrials were 0.67 per cent in the black.

South African bonds stage a recovery in late trade yesterday as traders speculated on a repo rate cut in light of worse-than-expected foreign trade data.

At the close, R157 bond was trading at 6,375 per cent from 6,420 per cent in midday trade and Wednesday’s close of 6,400 per cent. The R207 was trading at 7,650 per cent from a previous close of 7,635 per cent and the R186 was trading at 8,375 per cent from its close of 8,360 per cent.

Commodities

Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1558.78/oz and platinum at US$ 1401.00/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 101.92 per barrel.

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