U.S. stocks fell Friday as an unexpected contraction in a gauge of business activity in the Midwest had Wall Street cutting still-sizeable third quarter and September gains. Continued uncertainty about Spain’s finances and a potential bailout hampered European stock markets on the last trading day of the quarter on Friday, with the benchmark index closing with its biggest weekly loss since early June. Japanese shares fell this morning to begin the fourth quarter on a downbeat note after the Bank of Japan’s quarterly Tankan survey showed deterioration in business sentiment at large manufacturers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 48.84 points, or 0.4%, to 13 437.13, up 4.3% for the third quarter and 2.7% for the month. The S&P 500 declined 6.48 points, or 0.5%, to 1 440.67, up 5.8% for the quarter and 2.4% for September. The Nasdaq Composite lost 20.37 points, or 0.7%, to 3 116.23, leaving it up 6.2% for the quarter and 1.6% for September. September, historically a poor month for Wall Street, this year marked a fourth month of consecutive gains.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 1.2% to close at 268.48, ending the week 2.7% lower. However, for the quarter the index added 6.9%. The CAC 40 index dropped 2.5% to 3 354.82. The DAX 30 index closed 1% lower at 7 216.15, and 3.2% lower on the week. The FTSE 100 index lost 0.7% to 5 742.07. For the week it dropped 1.9%, but picked up 3.1% on the quarter.
The Nikkei Stock Average declined 0.8% to 8 798.08 and the broader Topix Index fell 1.1% to 729.27. Stock markets are closed the whole of this week on mainland China, and through Tuesday in Hong Kong, for holidays.
The US dollar is currently trading at 1.28 to the euro, 1.61 to the pound and will buy 77.85 Japanese Yen or 8.27 South African Rand.
The JSE all-share index closed 0.40% up at 35 757.98 points‚ with the platinum index gaining 2.41% and gold counters lifting 2.14%.
The benchmark R157 bond was bid at 5.360% and offered at 5.340% from 5.310% at Thursday’s close and 5.285% at Wednesday’s close. The R207 was bid at 6.385% and offered at 6.355% from its previous close of 6.320%‚ and the R186 was trading at 7.340% from 7.320% at its previous close.
Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1 765.40/oz. and platinum at US$ 1 656.20/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 111.58 per barrel.