Global Trading Wrap: Equity Markets Decline Ahead Of Long Weekend
Wall Street: U.S. equity markets closed lower on Friday after a late day selloff erased earlier gains. Concerns about the possible downgrade of the U.S.’s debt rating saw traders unwilling to push the market higher as we headed into the long weekend. Because of the 3 day weekend, many traders left their desks early which meant the markets traded on lower volume. The DOW lost 14.81 points to close on 8277.32. The S&P lost 1.33 points to close on 887.00 while the NASDAQ lost 3.24 points to close on 1692.01.
Europe: Despite the 3 major European indexes closing higher, overall, European equity markets closed lower led by drug and banking stocks. Swiss markets re-opened on Friday after being closed for a Bank Holiday on Thursday and lost 1.8%. Top drug stocks including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca closed lower while Swiss food conglomerate Nestle dropped 1.8%. Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse also fell on Friday. Gains were seen in mining stocks including Rio Tinto. The DAX gained 18 points; the CAC 40 gained 11 points while the U.K.’s FTSE added 20 points.
Asia: Asian equity markets declined overnight as exporters in Japan were hurt by a stronger yen. Canon led the exporters lower. The market was unmoved by the Bank of Japan upgrading the current assessment of the economy. Japan’s Nikkei closed lower by 38 points, while the Hang Seng lost 137 points. Australian shares shed 1.4% and South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1.2%
Financial Sector: In trade on Friday the XLF, the financial sector ETF, dropped 0.07 points (0.6%) to trade at 11.66. It moved lower on much lighter volume; 86.1m ETF's changed hands, below the ten day average of 202.0m. Equity markets closed slightly lower, overall, on Friday, on lower volume as traders left their desks early ahead of the long weekend.
Treasuries: Treasuries dropped on Friday as traders prepare for the government to resume selling debt. Ten year yields rose nine basis points to 3.45%. The yield has moved higher by 32 basis points this week. The Treasury will auction $40 billion in two year notes, $35 billion in five year notes and $26 billion in seven year notes next week.
Crude oil: Oil prices rose slightly on Friday closing above $61 a barrel as an increase in Chinese demand countered continued fears of slowing demand in the U.S. Speculation continues to increase that supply will be disrupted after the Nigerian military launched its biggest campaign in years against militants.
Gold Bullion: Gold prices moved higher on Friday in response to a weaker dollar. Bullion rose almost $7 an ounce to close at $957.60. Traders often move into gold as a safe haven on days the dollar weakens.