Wall Street: Equity markets retreated in the final hour of trading, erasing earlier gains for a second day, led, once again, by financials. Concerns that new lending restrictions will hurt credit card companies and updated economic outlook from the minutes of the latest FOMC meeting led to the markets selling off at the close. The markets had moved higher in early trade as oil prices moved higher along with the price of metals boosting commodity shares. The DOW lost 52.81 points to close at 8422.04. The S&P dropped 4.66 points, closing on 903.47, while the NASDAQ lost 6.70 points to close on 1727.84.
Europe: Overall, European markets closed Wednesday’s trading session higher despite showing a lack of momentum and direction for most of the day. Energy stocks posted solid gains, as oil prices moved and held above $60 a barrel, led by BG Group, BP and Royal Dutch Shell. Commodity prices, in general, posted gains and that bode well for mining stocks such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. At the close os the day the DAX was higher by 79 points, the CAC 40 added 28 points while the U.K.’s FTSE lost 14 points.
Asia: Asian markets closed mixed on Wednesday as a disappointing read on U.S. housing starts and news that the Japanese economy contracted at a record pace led investors to become more cautious. The Japanese Nikkei gained 54 points while the Hang Seng dropped 68 points. Australian stocks gained 0.2% as resource companies posted gains.
Financial Sector: In trade on Wednesday the XLF, the financial sector ETF, dropped 0.37 points (3.08%) to trade at 11.67. It moved lower on higher volume; 218m ETF's changed hands, above the ten day average of 208.1m. Equity markets moved lower, overall, on Wednesday, moving lower after the release of the minutes from the latest FOMC meeting. Once again it was the financial that led the moves lower on concern new lending restrictions will hurt credit card issuers.
Treasuries: Treasuries rose on Wednesday after the release of the latest FOMC meeting minutes, which showed some Fed officials contemplated the need for the Federal Reserve to boost its asset purchases. Ten year yields dropped 6 basis points to 3.19%, the first drop in 4 days. The Fed ultimately decided to hold off on further purchases in order to evaluate how the economy would respond to policies already implemented.
Crude oil: Oil prices rose on Wednesday, closing near $62 a barrel after a government report showed a strong drop in U.S. crude and gasoline inventories. Refinery accidents in the U.S. also boosted oil prices.
Gold Bullion: Gold prices moved higher on Wednesday in response to a weaker dollar. Bullion rose $12.50 an ounce to close at $939.50. Traders often move into gold as a safe haven on days the dollar weakens.