Market sentiment soured despite generally better-than-expected headline PMIs in September. Investors' concerns concentrated in sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone and its spillover to other parts of the world. Talks of expanding and leveraging the EFSF were downplayed by Juncker who said the ceiling of the rescue fund shouldn't be raised and the ECB should not be involving in any future leveraging of the fund. Wall Street slumped with DJIA and S&P 500 flirting with new lows of the year. As led by financial and oil sectors, DJIA and S&P 500 indices lost -2.36% and -2.85% respectively. In the commodity market, oil prices dived with the front-month contract for WTI crude oil fell to a 2-month low of 76.65 before settling at 77.61, down -2.01%, while the equivalent Brent crude contract declined to 100.71 before ending the day at 101.71, down -1.02%. The Brent crude contract may break below 100. Gold advanced, gaining +2.18%, in spite of the strength in USD. It's the broad-based weakness in market confidence that had sent gold high. Investors sought to park their capitals in safe-haven assets.
As the EU/ECB/IMF troika has returned to Athens for inspection of the Greek situation, the progress and the outcome will be under the spotlight over the coming few days. It's expected that a decision will be finalized by Wednesday. Indeed, investors have been quite pessimistic about the situation in Greece, particularly after the 2012 budget showed a shortfall of deficit reduction. Yet, the government will still need discuss about narrowing its deficits further in 2013 and 2014.
Regarding the discussion on expanding and leveraging the EFSF, it appears that the possibility is low as finance ministers are divided on the issue. Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer said he supported leveraging the fund. However, it's unrealistic to expect an increase in the beefed-up rescue fund and it's unlikely for leverage. Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Eurogroup meeting of Eurozone finance ministers, he ceiling of the rescue fund shouldn't be raised and the ECB should not be involving in any future leveraging of the fund. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that expansion talk was premature as 3 countries have yet to even ratify the EFSF plan agreed in July.
Macroeconomic data took a backseat as investors continued dumping their risky assets shrugging off better-than-expected PMI data. Eurozone's manufacturing PMI was surprisingly revised higher to 51.1 in September from 49.0 in the prior month. The China PMI climbed for a second consecutive month, by +0.3 points, to 51.2 in September, reversing the declining trend formed since March. In the US, the ISM manufacturing index added +1 point to 51.6 in September, compared with consensus of a dip to 50.3.