Asian markets slid on Thursday as anxiety grew ahead of Friday’s European Summit. The Nikkei dropped .7% to 8645, pulling back from a 1-month high. The Kospi slipped .4% after the Bank of Korea held interest rates at 3.25%, and Australia’s ASX 200 declined .3%. China’s Shanghai Composite largely recovered from an earlier drop, closing down .1%, and the Hang Seng shed .7%.
European markets tumbled after ECB President Mario Draghi said the region’s economy faced significant risks, while offering no new bond purchase plan. The central bank cut interest rates to 1% from 1.25%. The CAC40 dropped 2.5%, the DAX lost 2%, and the FTSE fell 1.1%, with financials leading the declines. The European Banking Index closed down 3.1%.
US stocks posted similar losses. The Dow fell 199 points to 11998, the S&P 500 skidded 2.1%, and the Nasdaq lost 2%. Selling accelerated in the last few minutes of the day after Germany rejected a draft proposal for the EU summit, casting doubts on the outcome of Friday’s meeting. The ongoing debate over whether to introduce stiffer budgetary requirements, or strengthen the bailout mechanisms, does not appear close to resolution.
S&P 500 Index
S&P 500 Falls 2.1%
Despite earnings reports which exceeded estimates, Costco fell 2% and Smithfield Foods dropped 3.7%.
The currency markets shunned risk on Thursday, pressuring the Australian and Canadian Dollar. The Australian Dollar fell 1.2% to 1.0168, and the Canadian Dollar dropped 1.3% to 1.0218. The Pound and Euro both lost .5% to 1.3348 and 1.5638 respectively, while the Yen closed flat at 77.67.
Weekly jobless claims were far better than expected, dropping by 23K to 381K. Wholesale inventories rose by 1.6%, more than forecast, posting their biggest gain in 5 months.
Western Markets Rally on Euro Summit Deal
Asian markets slumped on Friday as investors grew increasingly nervous over the European Summit. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng led the declines, tumbling 2.7% to 18586. Japan’s Nikkei sank 1.5% to 8536, the ASX 200 lost 1.8%, and the Kospi fell 2%. In China, stocks fell .6%, despite a report which showed a inflation dropped to 4.2%.
European leaders agreed to work towards leaner budgets, but failed to announce any new aid measures. Nonetheless, stocks rallied, led by the banks, which rose 2.6%. The CAC40 climbed 2.5%, the DAX jumped 1.9%, and the FTSE rose .8%.
German Se Xetra Dax Index
DAX Rallies 1.9% on Treaty Deal
US markets followed their European counterparts higher. The Dow advanced 187 points to 12184, the Nasdaq rallied 1.9%, and the S&P 500 gained 1.7% to 1255. The VIX tumbled 13.3% to 26.53.
The US Dollar traded mostly lower after the European Summit. The Euro rose 30 pips to 1.3370, the Pound rose 20 pips to 1.5662, and the Swiss Franc edged up 30 pips to 1.0821. The Australian Dollar gained .5% to 1.0221, and the Canadian Dollar ticked up .3% to 1.0193.
Consumer sentiment rose more than expected, climbing to 67.7, from last month’s 64.1 reading. The trade deficit fell to $43.5 billion, in line with forecasts.
Western Markets Tumble as Reality Sets In
Friday’s Western relief rally lifted Asian markets on Monday, following an agreement for stricter budgets amongst euro zone countries. The Nikkei advanced 1.4% to 8654, the Kospi climbed 1.3%, and the ASX 200 rose 1.2%. China’s Shanghai Composite bucked the uptrend, sliding 1%, and the Hang Seng closed down fractionally.
Friday’s gains were short-lived for European stocks, as a steep selloff hit the continent. Germany’s DAX tumbled 3.4% to 5785, the CAC40 dropped 2.6%, and the FTSE fell 1.8%. Despite Friday’s summit treaty, little progress has been made in improving the European debt crisis.
Germany's DAX Slumps 3.4%
US markets dropped as well, but ended well off their lows. The Dow dropped 163 points to 12021, the Nasdaq declined 1.3%, and the S&P 500 dropped 1.5%. Banking shares were hit hardest, as Citigroup plunged 5.4% and Bank of America dropped 4.7%.
The Dollar surged as investors flocked to safety. The Euro and Swiss Franc both tumbled 1.5% to 1.3186 and 1.0672 respectively. The Australian Dollar shed 1.4% to 1.0078, and the Canadian Dollar lost 1% to 1.0258. The Yen fared better than its pears, easing .3% to 77.90.
The Fed will issue its rate statement on Tuesday, and is not expected to lift rates from .25%. Also due are retail sales, business inventories, and the TIPP economic optimism report.
Retail Stocks Drop on Weak Data
Asian markets traded lower as disappointment over Friday’s European Summit set in. The Nukkei dropped 1.2% to 8553, the Kospi slumped 1.9%, and the ASX 200 declined by 1.6%. The Shanghai Composite fell 1.9% to 2249, its lowest level since March 2009, and the Hang Seng eased .7%.
European markets closed mixed following Monday’s slide. The CAC40 fell .4%, and the DAX slipped .2%, while the FTSE rallied 1.2%, lifted by the energy sector. Investors digested news that German chancellor, Angela Merkel, opposes an increase in Europe’s bailout fund.
US stocks dropped in the late afternoon, following the Fed’s statement, which failed to entice investors. The Dow closed down 66 points to 11955, the S&P 500 dropped .9%, and the Nasdaq fell 1.3%
Nasdaq Nms Composite Index
Nasdaq Loses 1.3% in Afternoon Selloff
The Euro extended its losses from Monday, dropping 1.1% to 1.3031. The Pound and Canadian Dollar both lost .7%, and the Australian Dollar fell .5% to 1.0005. The Yen settled at 77.99, down fractionally, and the Swiss Franc slumped .8% to 1.0571.
Tuesday’s economic data was disappointing. Retails sales rose by.2% in November, significantly less than the .6% forecast. Business inventories rose by .8%, slightly more than expected.
Weekly Jobless Claims Drop to 3.5 Year Low
Asian markets fell on Thursday, as fear over Europe’s debt crisis intensified. In Japan, the Nikkei fell 1.7% to 8377. Scandal-hit Olympus shares tumbled more than 20% after restating earnings, as the company revealed a $1.1 billion loss. Korea’s Kospi dropped 2.1%, and the ASX 200 fell 1.2%. PMI data for China showed a slowdown in factory activity, sending the Shanghai Composite down 2.1% to 2181, and the Hang Seng down 1.8%.
European markets bounced moderately, lifted by upbeat US data. The DAX climbed 1%, the CAC40 gained .8%, and the FTSE rose .6%. The European insurance index rallied 2.3% on news that Old Mutual was selling part of its business for $3.2 billion. Fitch cut the debt rating on Credit Agricole, sending the bank’s shares down 4.4%.
US stocks opened sharply higher, but surrendered most of their gains as the day dragged on. The Dow rose 45 points to 11869, the S&P 500 edged up .3%, and the Nasdaq ended up fractionally.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Dow Gains but Closes well off Lows
Fedex shares surged 8% after reporting earnings which were stronger than expected.
The Swiss Franc surged 1.3% to 1.0634, while the Dollar eased modestly against other currencies. The Euro rose .2% to 1.3014, the Pound gained .3% to 1.5510, and the Canadian Dollar advanced .4% to 1.0354.
Weekly jobless claims fell to 366K, far better than the 389K forecast, its lowest level in years. The Empire State Manufacturing Index jumped to 9.5, showing a sharp rise in factory activity.