Market Update & Important Indicators:
U.S. stocks rose intraday as investors weighed uncertainty over trade policy and signs of softening economic momentum around the world. The Dow Jones rose 0.4%, to 24216, rebounding after major indexes had come under broad selling pressure Wednesday. The S&P 500 added 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5%. The U.S. government has recently taken a more aggressive stance toward China, imposing tariffs on its exports and suggesting it may impose new restrictions on Chinese investment. Some investors and analysts fear that escalating tensions could lead to restrictive trade policies across the world that dent global growth. Money managers are especially cautious because recent economic data coming from Europe and China have not met expectations, and data showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2% rate in the first quarter of year, slower than initially estimated. The US gold price fell 0.3% to 1248 US$/oz.
Europe's main stock benchmarks closed in negative territory, extending their drop for the week as investors remain concerned that trade-related fights could turn into a big drag on the global economy. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.8% to end at 376.87, erasing Wednesday's 0.7% gain and then some. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 dipped 0.1% to close at 7,615.63, while Germany's DAX 30 lost 1.4% to finish at 12,177.23. France's CAC 40 shed 1% to end at 5,275.64.
Asian equities trended higher as the day progressed Wednesday, while the opposite occurred in the new session, with markets ending at or near session lows amid post-lunch selling. Indexes in Taiwan and South Korea saw sharp downward adjustments after those markets' respective closes, while selling deepened in China and Hong Kong to leave indexes there down as much as 2%. Singapore's benchmark was down 0.6% even as the beaten-down Philippines' PSEi closed with a 2.4% gain and finishing at the day's best level. Japan went from down nearly 1% to flat. China did down-up-down while Hong Kong did up-down-up. The Philippines and South Korea started weak and finished down more than 1%. But the worst performer was Indonesia's JSX, which was down about 2% and hit a 13-month low. Meanwhile, Indian shares extended losses for the second straight session as weakness in other global markets and higher crude oil prices weighed on the sentiment. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.5% to 35,037.64.
Again outperforming in Asia-Pacific, Australia's stock benchmark snapped a four-day run of slight declines with a recovery by the banks adding to resources strength. After retreating from last week's 10 1/2-year highs, the S&P/ASX 200 reversed slightly more than half of its recent declines with a 0.3% gain to 6215.4. The energy sector led with a 1.8% jump on oil prices' fresh overnight bounce while the materials subindex added 1%. Meanwhile, Macquarie led the financials, jumping 3.8% to a fresh record high. But Qantas lost 2.7% on word that long-time Chairman Leigh Clifford is stepping down.
Base metal prices were mixed overnight on the London Metal Exchange. The 3-month copper contract decreased 1.3% to 6,629/t whilst tin finished 2.4% lower at 19,689/t. The price of aluminium gained 0.3% to 2,171/t and nickel finished up at 14,709/t. Zinc also gained 1.8% to 2,939/t.
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