Wall Street: U.S. equity markets closed lower again on Thursday after jobless claims came in higher than expected, stoking concerns about the economic recovery and after S&P downgraded the U.K. economic outlook and said the U.K. may lose its AAA rating. Speculation swirled during U.S. trading hours that the U.S. may suffer the same fate, however, that seems unlikely. The DOW closed lower by 129.91 points to 8292.13 on lower volume. The close was well off the lows of the day which topped 200 points. The S&P lost 15.14 points to close on 888.33 while the NASDAQ lost 32.59 points to close on 1695.25.
Europe: European stocks finished Thursday’s trade lower led by banks and commodity stocks. Markets also weakened after S&P cut its U.K. economic outlook. Bank stocks dropped the most, led by HSBC and Banco Santander, while energy stocks moved lower as oil prices failed to hold above the $61 a barrel level. Equity markets have been on a bull run lately so today’s movements were also a case of traders banking profits. The German DAX fell 139 points while the U.K.’s FTSE lost 123 points.
Asia: Asian equity markets moved lower on Thursday as traders became concerned after the Federal Reserve lowered its forecast for economic growth going forward. Japanese exporters moved lower led by Honda Motor. Over all the Nikkei lost 80 points. Hong Kong markets fell for the second day giving up 277 points.
Financial Sector: In trade on Thursday the XLF, the financial sector ETF, dropped 0.08 points (0.77%) to trade at 11.64. It moved lower on lighter volume; 178.6m ETF's changed hands, below the ten day average of 208.7m. Equity markets moved lower, overall, on Thursday, moving lower on higher than expected jobless claims and the S&P downgrade of the U.K. economy.
Treasuries: The Federal Reserve bought a smaller amount of debt than was generally expected at today’s auction and Treasuries dropped as a result. Ten year yields rose 15 basis points, the most since the first week of May after the Treasury announced it would auction $101 billion of two, five and seven year notes next week.
Crude oil: Oil prices fell on Thursday, closing near $61 a barrel as ongoing concerns about the labor market caused skepticism over the economic recovery. Continued concerns about U.S. refineries and a possible resurgence in violence in the Niger delta region prevented oil prices from dropping further.
Gold Bullion: Gold prices moved higher on Thursday in response to a weaker dollar. Bullion rose almost $19.00 an ounce to close at $956.30. Traders often move into gold as a safe haven on days the dollar weakens.