Market Update & Important Indicators:
Stocks fell Monday, with financial shares leading a retreat from last week's highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has shed nearly 150 points since Wednesday, when investors' optimism about the U.S. economy powered the blue-chip index past 21000 for the first time. Financials were the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500, losing 0.7%. Bank stocks have been among the biggest winners in the post-election rally, which has been bolstered by President Donald Trump's promises to enact pro-business policies. Compounding the fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average overnight was the U.S. gold price which also shed 0.7% to finish at 1,225 US$/oz. The S&P 500 has notched six consecutive weeks of gains. U.S. government bonds slipped as investors anticipated a rate increase, which Fed officials have signalled in recent days. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.494%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.492% Friday. Energy companies were among the few gainers Monday, rising 0.1% in the S&P 500 despite a slip in the price of oil.
European stocks closed lower, with the banking sector under pressure as German lender Deutsche Bank shares slid on its plans for a share sale. The Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.5% to end at 373.27, giving back part of last week's gain of 1.4%. The "huge share sale" is "something that contradicts comments from CEO John Cryan, who has previously stated the bank would not need to turn to the markets for another cash injection," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in a note. Other bank stocks suffered alongside Deutsche Bank, pulling the Stoxx 600 Bank Index down 1.2%.
Japan's Nikkei was 0.5% lower as the yen strengthened against the dollar and government bond yields pulled back, weighing on exporters and financial firms. Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were also subdued after a Japanese government spokesman said North Korea launched four missiles, and that three had landed inside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone. South Korea's Kospi index recovered from early losses to trade up 0.1%. Stocks in Shanghai added 0.5%, showing little reaction to economic updates from the National People's Congress over the weekend. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang moderated China's GDP growth target for the year to "around" 6.5%, versus the stated goal for 2016 of between 6.5% and 7%. Shares in Hong Kong added 0.2%. Most investors were also looking ahead to the U.S. jobs report later in the week, the final piece of economic data that could affect the Federal Reserve's decision on raising interest rates at its March meeting.
Australian shares notched modest gains Monday, rising for only the third session in the last dozen as mining stocks led today's advance. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3% to 5746.5 as the materials subindex advanced 1.1%. The four biggest banks, among the largest stocks in the ASX 200, rose 0.2-0.7%.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed down 1.0% at $5,858/t. The other base metals were mainly lower on Monday. Aluminium fell 1.0% to $1,866/t, zinc fell 1.3% to $2,732/t, lead fell 0.2% to $2,240/t, and tin prices fell 0.2% at 19,424/t. Nickel prices bucked the trend rising 0.9% at 11,040/t.
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