Market Update & Important Indicators
U.S. stocks pared early losses, lifted by gains in the telecommunications and utilities sector. The Dow industrials had fallen 169 points after Japan's central bank dashed hopes for additional monetary easing and amid concerns about the impact of a coming U.K. vote on whether to remain in the European Union.
European stocks dropped Thursday, posting their sixth loss in seven sessions, with investors gripped by concerns about slowing economic growth ahead of next week's U.K. vote on whether to leave the European Union. The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.7% to close at 321.29, after paring losses in the afternoon. European equities were rattled Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve trimmed its 2016 forecast for growth in the world's largest economy to 2% from 2.2%, and as the central bank indicated it would take an even slower approach to raising interest rates.
Japanese stocks tumbled Thursday, leading losses across Asian stock markets, after the Bank of Japan kept its monetary-easing policies unchanged. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average ended down 3.1%. Thursday's losses were enough to edge the Nikkei past China's main stock index as the worst-performing benchmark in Asia so far this year. As of Thursday's close, the Nikkei is down 18.9% in the year to date, compared with the Shanghai Composite Index's 18.8% decline. Elsewhere in the region, Korea's Kospi fell 0.9% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 2.1%. The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.5%. General anxiety about the strength of the U.S. economic recovery and the chance of a Brexit have driven investors into the yen, seen as a safe-haven asset. Federal Reserve officials overnight lowered projections of how much they will raise interest rates this year.
Early gains by Australian shares faded Thursday, leading to a sixth straight loss for the market. After initially brushing aside further declines on Wall Street overnight and buying recently beaten down stocks, investors' focus returned to the looming U.K. vote on inclusion in the European Union and worries about global growth. Although as much as 1% higher early in the day, the S&P/ASX 200 finished 1.1 point lower at 5146 – its lowest since April 18.
Copper futures closed lower in London on Thursday, suppressed by a drop in crude oil prices and a slightly firmer dollar. The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract was down 2.1% at $4,537 a ton at the PM kerb close. Among the other base metals, aluminium was down 1.3% at $1,593 a ton, zinc was down 2.3% at $1,981 a ton, nickel was down 1.9% at $8,823 a ton, and lead was up 0.5% at $1,697 a ton.
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