Asian Markets are set to open lower after U.S. stocks fell, reversing a rally that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average toward its highest level since 2008 earlier today, as banks tumbled and a report showed that sales of new homes unexpectedly slumped.
The S&P500 fell 7.61 points, or 0.46%, to close at 1218.46 with energy and telecoms the hardest hit sectors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 22.33 points lower, or 0.17%, at 12734.63, while the Nasdaq also dropped 13.03 points or 0.57%.
Equities reversed gains today after a report showed that sales of new U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in December for the first time in four months, capping the slowest year on record for builders. Claims for U.S. jobless benefits rose last week, displaying the usual volatility around holidays that has masked an improvement in the labor market. Orders for U.S. durable goods advanced more than forecast in December.
Benchmark gauges rose yesterday as the Fed signalled low rates through at least late 2014 and didn't rule out bond purchases to bolster the economy. Investors also watched earnings reports. Of the 146 S&P 500 companies that reported results since Jan. 9, 100 posted per-share earnings that beat projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The euro hit a five-week high against a broadly weak dollar on Thursday on speculation of progress in Greek debt negotiations and after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated interest rates would stay at ultra-low levels for at least another two years.
Oil rose after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to keep U.S. interest rates near a record low through 2014 and a report showed durable goods orders in the world's biggest crude-consuming country increased. Crude oil for March delivery increased 30 cents to $99.70 a barrel.
Gold prices hit 6 1/2 week highs as stock markets, commodities, and the euro all rallied after the Federal Reserve said it planned to keep interest rates at rock bottom for some years and hinted at further economic stimulus measures. U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled up $24.80 an ounce at $1,724.90.
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