Global risk-appetite continued to wane as traders dumped stocks and shifted into safe-haven assets in the Tuesday session. The Dow Jones slid by more than 1.3%, while the S&P 500 lost 1.45% and the Nasdaq shed 1.66%. Meanwhile, crude oil extended its decline, tumbling by 2.2% to $71.53-per barrel and dragging crude lower by almost 14.6% since climbing past the $83-level in early August. Benefiting most from heightened risk-aversion were the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc, trading higher by 1.4% and 1% against the greenback, respectively.
Although the US economic reports released earlier in the session were largely mixed, markets were disappointed by a sharply weaker than expected housing report. Existing home sales for July plunged by more than forecast, tumbling by 27.2% to 3.83 million units, and far exceeding estimates for a 13.4% drop from a downwardly revised 7.1% decline from June. Meanwhile, the August Richmond Fed manufacturing index fell by less than forecasts to 11, from 16 in the previous month.
The calendar for the Wednesday session consists of the July durable goods orders, new home sales and the home price index. The headline durable goods orders are seen printing higher by 3.0% in July from a 1.0% decline from June while the excluding transportations durable goods orders are estimated to improve by 0.5% and reversing the 0.6% decline previously. Home prices are seen extending its declines, lower by 0.4% in Q2 from a 1.9% fall in the previous quarter and edging up by 0.1% in June compared with a 0.5% increase from May. Rounding out tomorrow's data will be the July reading for new home sales, forecast to print flat at 330k and unchanged from June.
The yen remains buoyed near its highest level in 15-years despite increased government jawboning. Although the Bank of Japan has remained sidelined from intervening in the currency market since 2004, government officials have stepped up their rhetoric in recent sessions in light of the rapid strengthening of the Japanese currency, particularly versus the dollar and the euro. It remains to be seen whether currency intervention will materialize especially given the increased pressure on China to move toward a more flexible currency regime.