Market Update & Important Indicators
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out their second consecutive weekly gains, boosted by a rise in bank shares. Stock moves have been muted in recent sessions, something traders and analysts attributed to a dearth of corporate news ahead of the start of the third-quarter earnings season. The S&P 500 moved 12 points between its weekly peak and its low — its smallest range since November 2014. In another sign of the calm in the markets, the CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investors' expectations for swings in the S&P 500, fell Friday for the ninth time in 10 trading sessions. Major indexes also were steady after the Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it could raise interest rates one more time this year and tensions escalated anew between North Korea and the U.S. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1% to 2502.22 on Friday, rising less than 0.1% for the week. The Dow industrials fell less than 0.1% to 22349.59, rising 0.4% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite added less than 0.1% to 6426.92 on Friday, but posted a 0.3% weekly decline. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, bouncing 0.5% to close at 1,297.10 US$/oz.
European stocks edged mostly higher Friday, with upbeat economic data helping the market to move past weakness stemming from the latest round of tensions between North Korea and the U.S. The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed up by 0.1% at 383.22, keeping intact a 0.7% weekly advance. Regional stocks came off session lows earlier in the session after IHS Markit said business-activity data for the eurozone were overall upbeat, largely beating analyst forecasts. The composite purchasing-managers index for the currency bloc rose to 56.7 in September, marking a four-month high.
In Japan, gains in the yen hurt the Nikkei Stock Average, which closed down 0.3%. A stronger currency would hurt the country's key export stocks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.8%, while in South Korea the Kospi declined 0.7%. Chinese shares were broadly lower after rating firm Standard & Poor's on Thursday downgraded the country's sovereign credit rating because of risks associated with its increasing debt. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2% Friday, while the Shenzhen benchmark lost 0.3%.
Australian shares bucked declines in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday after underperforming on Thursday. Driven by the financial sector as big banks rebounded, the S&P/ASX 200 finished up 0.5% at 5682.1 as it clung to the narrow range of recent months. That narrowed the week's decline to 0.2%. Miners were among the few losers for the session, after Chinese iron-ore futures fell to their lowest in two months, although Rio Tinto bounced 0.7% on news of a further $2.5 billion share-buyback program. Each of the four big banks was higher, with Westpac climbing 1.2%.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded lower overnight, losing 0.35% to finish at $6,457/t. The other base metals finished mostly lower. Nickel prices slipped 5.4% to 10,342/t, while aluminium prices lost 0.5% to close at 2,137/t. Lead prices fell 1.2% to close at 2,487/t, whilst Zinc prices shed 1.3% to 3,077/t. Tin prices bucked the trend overnight, adding 0.8% to finish at 20,745/t.
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