Market Update & Important Indicators:
Weakness in technology shares hurt U.S. stocks for the second straight session intraday, with worries about regulation and trade continuing to hang over the market's best-performing sector. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.1%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 21 points, or less than 0.1%, to 25996. Major indexes had fallen in three of the previous four sessions entering Thursday, though they remain near record levels. Semiconductor stocks dragged the sector lower, with Micron Technology shares slumping 8.7% after Baird analysts lowered their price target on the stock. More broadly, some investors predict that the volatility that has engulfed stocks around the world will spread to the U.S. if the trade fight with China continues to escalate. The US gold price was up 0.3%, to record 1,199.50 US$/oz.
European shares pared earlier gains to close 0.6%, adrift as losses for the likes of French engineering consultancy Altran Technologies offset progress for French aircraft-engine manufacturer Safran and utilities. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended the session 2.21 points down at 373.47 while the DAX dropped 0.7% and the CAC-40 retreated 0.3%. Safran shares climbed 6.4% after it posted strong first-half results and raised its guidance for 2018. Altran fell nearly 8.1% after first-half profit missed expectations. European utilities rose after a number of rating upgrades by HSBC.
Asian equities were broadly lower for a second day as buyers continued to wait for reasons to buy. Perhaps that will come from Friday's U.S. jobs report. Until then, investors appear set to put some money on the side, egged on by 1%-plus drops overnight in Europe. Stocks in Hong Kong and the Philippines fell more than 1%. But the drops have been less than 0.5% in Japan, South Korea and Singapore, while India's Sensex was essentially flat and stopped a six-day losing streak. Trade tensions between the U.S. and China are set to take centre stage again, as Thursday marks the final day for public comment on the Trump administration's plan to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods. Reports indicated that U.S. President Trump could impose the tariffs as soon as this week. Elsewhere in Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index and Japan's Nikkei were both down, dropping 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively. Indonesian stocks rose, with the benchmark index up 1.6% following its biggest one-day drop since November 2016 on Wednesday.
Sydney's stock benchmark posted its biggest drop since March 23 as the region's worries found their way Down Under after avoiding Australia in recent months – with benchmarks there and in New Zealand recently hitting 10 1/2-year and record highs, respectively. The S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.1% to 6160.4 to post its first six-day losing streak since June 2016. The hot health-care sector swooned 3.9%, with high-flying drug maker CSL pulling back 4.5% and hearing-implant maker Cochlear skidding 6.1%.
Base metal prices were mixed overnight on the London Metal Exchange. Losses were recorded in aluminium which was down 1.6% to 2,002/t, along with lead which was down 0.9% to close at 2,014/t. The 3-month copper contract advanced 0.8% to 5,904/t, while zinc gained 0.8% to close at 1,448/t.
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