US stocks were flat as the market's recent upward bias held ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, even as a round of economic data came in below expectations.]]> |||
New York - US stocks were flat on Wednesday as the market's recent upward bias held ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, even as a round of economic data came in below expectations.
Trading was light, with some market participants already out for Thanksgiving.
The stock market will be closed on Thursday and will close early on Friday.
The thin action could amplify swings, especially with the Dow and S&P having hit a string of records recently.
Market moves have been slight of late, though indexes have trended to the upside.
The S&P was up in 13 of the past 16 sessions.
In the latest data, jobless claims unexpectedly rose in the latest week, topping 300 000 for the first time since early September, while new orders for US-made capital goods fell for a second straight month in October.
A barometer of business activity in the US Midwest declined more than expected in November.
Consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than seven years, but was down slightly from a preliminary reading.
“This isn't enough to derail the rally we've been on, because while markets are fairly valued, when you consider the alternatives equities are still the best asset,” said Matthew Keator, partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts.
The PHLX Housing index fell 0.4 percent after data showed pending home sales unexpectedly fell in October, though new home sales were higher.
Homebuilder DR Horton fell 0.7 percent to $25.29 (R279).
Deere & Co was one of the day's biggest decliners, off 3.6 percent to $84.70, after forecasting a drop in equipment sales in the current quarter, hurt by lower corn prices and falling farm incomes.
Hewlett-Packard Co rose 1.6 percent to $38.23 a day after fourth-quarter results.
At 10:00 a.m. (17:00 SA time) the Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.22 points, or 0.04 percent, to 17 807.72, the S&P 500 gained 0.73 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2 067.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 7.02 points, or 0.15 percent, to 4 765.27.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE 1 415 to 1 316, for a 1.08-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1 233 issues rose and 1 013 fell for a 1.22-to-1 ratio favouring advancers.
The S&P 500 was posting 40 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 57 new highs and 17 new lows. - Reuters]]>
US stock index futures were very slightly higher as investors looked ahead to a flurry of economic data that will be released.]]> |||
New York - US stock index futures were very slightly higher on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to a flurry of economic data that will be released, which could indicate whether the market's record levels are justified.
* While tech shares could see some pressure following weak results from Hewlett-Packard, trading is expected to be quiet, with some market participants already out for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The stock market will be closed on Thursday and will close early on Friday.
* Market moves have been slight of late.
Over the past 250 sessions, the S&P 500 has posted an average daily move of 15.8 points, which the benchmark index has not topped in any session in November.
The index's 14-day average move has dropped to 10.59 points from a high of 33.21 on October 23.
* While this week's trend of below-average volume is expected to continue, that thin action could amplify market moves if economic data comes in much stronger or weaker than expected.
Both the Dow and S&P have hit a string of records of late, and the S&P has risen in 12 of its last 15 sessions.
* Among the day's data, durable goods are seen down by 0.6 percent in October while weekly jobless claims fall by 3 000 to 288 000. Both reports will be released at 8:30 am (15:30 SA time).
* After the market opens, investors will look to the November Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, both new and pending home sales for October, and the final read on November consumer sentiment from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
Chicago PMI is seen falling to 63 from 66.2 while sentiment is expected to improve slightly.
* Hewlett-Packard fell 2.3 percent to $36.76 (R404) in premarket trading a day after it said revenue fell in almost every business segment in the fourth quarter, highlighting weaknesses ahead of the company's planned 2015 separation of its enterprise services from its traditional computer and printing units.
* Goldman Sachs, along with platinum and palladium dealers in Europe, has been sued in the United States in what the plaintiff's law firm called the first nationwide class action over alleged price-fixing of the metals.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent, with 73 394 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.17 percent, in volume of 10 546 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 15 points, or 0.08 percent, with 10 382 contracts changing hands. - Reuters]]>
Gold fell as the dollar rose against the euro on the prospect of more stimulus from the European Central Bank.]]> |||
London - Gold fell on Wednesday as the dollar rose against the euro on the prospect of more stimulus from the European Central Bank, but moves remained muted as physical demand lent support.
The euro eased after European Central Bank vice president Vitor Constancio said the bank will be able to gauge in the first quarter of 2015 whether it needs to start buying sovereign bonds.
Recent strong US economic data has fuelled talk that the Federal Reserve could soon raise rates.
Divergence between Fed monetary policy and that of other central banks is seen as lifting the dollar, while higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1 195.90 (R13 131) an ounce at 12:37 SA time, while US gold futures for December delivery were down $2.70 an ounce at $1 194.40.
“At the moment we have a stand-off situation,” LBBW analyst Thorsten Proettel said.
“On the one side, we have the prospect of higher interest rates in the United States, which is not a situation in which the gold price can move higher. On the other, we're seeing some greater demand for gold from Asia.”
China's net gold imports from main conduit Hong Kong hit a seven-month high in October, according to official Hong Kong data released on Tuesday.
Gold saw some buying interest in Asia overnight, MKS said in a note, though that was not enough to push prices much higher.
“Some decent volume went through the Shanghai Gold Exchange today, mainly on the buy side, which helped shift the premium out to $1.00-$2.00,” it said.
Traders are awaiting more US data due later in the day, including capital goods orders, jobless data and new home sales numbers, for further clues on the outlook for monetary policy.
Gold has seen quiet trading since recovering from a four-and-a-half year low earlier this month.
Speculation that Switzerland could vote in favour of a motion to raise its gold reserves has underpinned prices.
Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.6 percent at $16.54 an ounce, while platinum was up 0.2 percent at $1 217.49 an ounce and palladium was up 0.9 percent at $796.50 an ounce. - Reuters]]>
Hong Kong shares produced a solid rise following a rally in mainland markets.]]> |||
Hong Kong - Hong Kong shares produced a solid rise on Wednesday following a rally in mainland markets.
The financial sector led gains, letting the market shrug off the negative impact on energy majors from falling world oil prices.
The Hang Seng index rose 1.1 percent, to 24 111.98, while the China Enterprises Index gained 2.5 percent, to 11 051.35 points.
Among the most actively traded stocks on Hong Kong's main board were CCT Land, down 4.17 percent to HK$0.02; Semiconductor Manufacturing International, down 4.82 percent to HK$0.79 and Bank Of China, up 2.37 percent to HK$3.89.
Chinese investment flowing from Shanghai into Hong Kong through the mutual market access pilot programme was poor, taking up only 0.1 billion yuan of the 10.5 billion yuan (R19 billion) daily quota.
Total trading volume in Hong Kong was 139.5 billion shares. - Reuters]]>
Tokyo stocks ended 0.14 percent lower after a lacklustre session on Wall Street, while the yen picked up against the dollar.]]> |||
Tokyo - Tokyo stocks ended 0.14 percent lower Wednesday after a lacklustre session on Wall Street, while the yen picked up against the dollar.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange edged down 24.04 points to 17 383.58, while the Topix index of all first-section issues lost 0.20 percent, or 2.75 points, at 1 406.40.
The US Commerce Department said Tuesday that third-quarter growth came in at 3.9 percent, up from a previous estimate of 3.5 percent and easily beating expectations for 3.2 percent.
The figures are the latest showing the world's number one economy is on a healthy recovery track, while those in the eurozone and Japan struggle.
However, the result was offset by figures showing consumer confidence dipped in November.
On Wall Street, the Dow dipped 0.02 percent and the S&P 500 retreated 0.12 percent.
However, the Nasdaq added 0.07 percent.
“After a consistent string of dollar surges over the last month, we may finally be entering a 'cooling off period' for the greenback - at least against the yen,” said Tatsunori Kawai, chief strategist at kabu.com Securities.
A cheaper yen tends to boost exporters by making their products more competitive overseas and inflating the value of repatriated earnings.
The dollar might pick up again, should the Bank of Japan launch further easing measures after it unexpectedly expanded its existing programme last month, Kawai said.
“But another round of quantitative easing is not likely for months to come, and the stock market has already priced in all the central bank's moves,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.
The dollar bought 117.77 yen, down from 117.97 yen in New York.
On Tuesday, BoJ head Haruhiko Kuroda said policymakers were wary of the impact of the yen's sharp decline on the economy, as it weighs on household incomes and hurts smaller firms' earnings because of rising import costs.
“There is going to be a limit to the dollar's rise, and at some point the currency markets will reach a consolidation point,” said Hajime Kitano, Japan equity strategist at Barclays.
The “dollar-yen pair may be poised for a pullback soon”, he said.
In share trading, Toyota edged down 0.14 percent to 7 180 yen, Sony fell 1.32 percent to 2 548.5 yen and Canon dropped 0.23 percent to 3 766.5 yen.
Honda fell 2.89 percent to 3 633.50 yen after saying this week an audit showed that it had under-reported problems regarding its vehicles to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Honda and auto parts maker Takata are embroiled in a scandal over potentially defective airbags linked to several deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Takata shares fell 6.73 percent to 1 357.0 yen, as a senior company executive is sent back to Washington for a new hearing over the company's faulty airbags. - Sapa-AFP]]>
The rand was slightly firmer against the US dollar, taking its cue from Asian currencies.]]> |||
Johannesburg - The rand was slightly firmer against the US dollar on Wednesday, taking its cue from Asian currencies, although it was likely to come under renewed pressure as signs of a US economic recovery boosted the greenback.
At 08:59 SA time the rand was up 0.11 percent at 10.9575 against the dollar compared to Tuesday's closing level in New York.
Government bonds also edged higher, pulling the yield for the 2026 benchmark 2 basis points lower to 7.765 percent.
Traders said a raft of US data, including consumer sentiment and new home sales, would give further clues on whether the US economic recovery was gaining traction.
This would back the case for monetary policy tightening in the world's largest economy, denting appetite for high-yielding but riskier emerging currencies like the rand. - Reuters]]>
Goldman Sachs and HSBC were sued in New York over claims they conspired for eight years to manipulate prices for the precious metals platinum and palladium in what plaintiffs’ lawyers say is the first class-action lawsuit of its kind in the US.]]> |||
New York - Goldman Sachs and HSBC were sued in New York over claims they conspired for eight years to manipulate prices for the precious metals platinum and palladium in what plaintiffs’ lawyers say is the first class-action lawsuit of its kind in the US.
Standard Bank and a metals unit of BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, were also sued.
The four companies used inside information about client purchases and sale orders to profit from price movements for the metals used in products ranging from jewellry to cars, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court.
The lawsuit by Modern Settings, a Jeweller that buys precious metals and derivatives set on their prices, claims the companies “were privy to and shared confidential, non-public information about client purchase and sale orders that allowed them to glean information about the direction” of prices.
Similar lawsuits have been filed this year in Manhattan accusing banks of rigging the benchmark price for gold.
Authorities around the world are examining the gold market for signs of wrongdoing.
Regulators tightened scrutiny of benchmarks after uncovering price-rigging in interbank-loan rates and currencies.
Silver became the first precious metal to change its traditional procedure in August, and Intercontinental Exchange will run the replacement for the 95-year-old London gold fixing.
A new mechanism for platinum and palladium starts December 1.
Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on the lawsuit, as did HSBC spokeswoman Juanita Gutierrez in New York.
Standard Bank is based in Johannesburg.
A message left at its Manhattan office wasn’t immediately returned yesterday, while BASF’s London-based metals unit couldn’t be reached.
The biggest uses of the metals are for jewellry and producing catalytic converters, which curb harmful emissions from vehicles, according to the complaint.
Carmakers’ use of platinum will climb 7.9 percent to a six-year high of 3.39 million ounces this year, and there will be “broad-based growth” next year, auto-catalysts producer Johnson Matthey estimates.
Palladium auto usage will gain 4.9 percent this year to a record 7.3 million ounces.
While demand will rise next year, it will likely be at a slower pace, the company predicted.
Johnson Matthey makes about one-third of the world’s catalytic converters.
According to the complaint, the four companies participated in twice-daily conference calls to set global price benchmarks for platinum and palladium, which also affected derivative products based on the precious metals.
“This unlawful behaviour allowed defendants to reap substantial profits, while non-insiders, which include plaintiffs and members of the class, were injured,” lawyers for New York-based Modern Settings said in the filing.
Modern Settings needs a judge’s approval before it can represent other buyers of the metals.
The gross demand for platinum and palladium last year was more than 8 million ounces and more than 9.6 million ounces, respectively, according to the complaint.
The case is Modern Settings v BASF Metals, 14- cv-09391, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). - Bloomberg News]]>
Oil prices extended losses in Asia on Wednesday as speculation swirls that the Opec cartel will maintain output despite a global supply glut.]]> |||
Singapore - Oil prices extended losses in Asia on Wednesday as speculation swirls that the Opec cartel will maintain output at this week's closely watched meeting despite a global supply glut.
The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery, fell 24 cents to $73.85 while Brent crude for January eased 17 cents to $78.16 in mid-morning trade.
WTI dived $1.69 Tuesday while Brent closed down $1.35.
“At the moment, the outcome of the Opec meeting on Thursday is very much trumping all other factors,” Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.
“Prices have come under pressure after the meeting between some Opec members and Russia saw no real concrete measures announced regarding production cuts,” Ang said.
Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member producers including Russia held talks on Tuesday ahead of the cartel's key output meeting on Thursday.
After the meeting, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez said all parties agreed that the current price of crude “is not good”.
“We discussed the situation on the market, we shared our points of view and we agreed to keep in contact, and we will meet again in three months,” he added.
Separately, Russian oil giant Rosneft said it had trimmed output by 25 000 barrels partly in response to sliding prices.
The token reduction represented less than one percent of the behemoth's total and did little to boost energy prices on depressed global commodity markets.
Thursday's meeting in Vienna of Opec, whose dozen members together pump out about one-third of the world's crude, is its most significant in recent years.
The cartel is under pressure from its poorer members such as Venezuela and Ecuador to cut output after tumbling prices have slashed their precious revenues.
Crude prices have sunk 30 percent to four-year lows since June on the back of plentiful supplies, a strong dollar and worries about stalling energy demand in a weak global economy.
However, the cartel's Gulf members, led by kingpin Saudi Arabia, have rejected calls for a cut unless they are guaranteed market share in the highly competitive arena, according to analysts. - Sapa-AFP]]>
American stocks ended little changed on Tuesday as soft readings on consumer confidence and house prices kept major indexes in a tight range.]]> |||
New York - US stocks ended little changed on Tuesday as the US economy grew more than expected last quarter but soft readings on consumer confidence and house prices kept major indexes in a tight range.
Third-quarter gross domestic product came in much stronger than expected but separate data showing consumer confidence sliding to a five-month low and a further moderation in house price gains put a lid on the market's advance.
The moves did not show much conviction in either direction and volume was low, with about 6.1 billion shares traded, below this month's daily average of 6.36 billion. US markets will be closed on Thursday, while Friday will be a half-day session.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.96 points, or 0.02 percent, to 17,814.94, the S&P 500 lost 2.38 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,067.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 3.36 points, or 0.07 percent, to 4,758.25.
The S&P hit an intraday record near 2,075 and has risen in 12 of its last 15 sessions. It is up 13.5 percent from an intraday six-month low hit mid-October.
Energy shares were the weakest performers on the benchmark index, down 1.6 percent. US crude futures fell 2.5 percent to near their lowest in more than four years ahead of an Opec meeting on Thursday where a cut in production will likely be discussed.
Exxon Mobil fell 1 percent to $94.78 while Chevron was off 1.2 percent to $116.15.
Apple hit a high of $119.75, briefly reaching a $700 billion market capitalisation, the largest on Wall Street. The second-largest publicly-traded US company, Exxon, has a market cap just above $400 billion. Apple closed down 0.9 percent at $117.60, ranking as the largest points weight on the S&P 500.
Tiffany & Co rose 2.5 percent to $107.60 after same-store sales growth beat expectations.
NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 1,638 to 1,414, for a 1.16-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,371 issues fell and 1,324 advanced, for a 1.04-to-1 ratio.
The S&P 500 posted 80 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 123 new highs and 43 new lows. - Reuters]]>
Asian stocks edged up on Wednesday after upbeat US economic growth data calmed investor anxiety over a deteriorating global outlook.]]> |||
Tokyo - Asian stocks edged up on Wednesday after upbeat US economic growth data calmed investor anxiety over a deteriorating global outlook, while the Australian dollar languished near four-year lows against the dollar.
Oil prices were also under pressure as major oil producing nations failed to agree on curbs to output ahead of an Opec meeting on Thursday.
The US government upgraded its reading on third quarter gross domestic product to 3.9 percent on Tuesday from 3.5 percent reported last month. Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth would be cut to 3.3 percent.
“The gap between actual and estimated third quarter GDP was a big one, but what is of increasing import is the gap between the economy of the US and the rest of the world especially Europe and Japan,” Jasper Lawler, analyst at CMC Markets, said in a note.
Mainland Chinese shares hit fresh three-year highs, helped by last Friday's rate cuts from the People's Bank of China while Tokyo's Nikkei retreated 0.1 percent, weighed by the yen's bounce.
The 10-year US Treasuries yield dropped to one-month low of 2.252 percent, as strong auction results, month-end buying and an unexpected drop in US consumer confidence offset the encouraging GDP news.
That also helped the dollar put some distance from a seven-year high against the yen .
The greenback was down 0.1 percent at 117.82 yen, pulling further away from a seven-year high of 118.98 reached the previous week. The euro was little changed at $1.2477 .
In contrast, the Australian dollar hovered near a four-year low of $0.8514. The Aussie has been under pressure amid the recent tumble in the price of iron ore, Australia's key export commodity.
“The AUD sits squarely at the bottom of the G10 pack in the past 24 hours and heading into the NY close, with a fresh slide in iron ore prices, now to below $70 for the first time since June 2009, adding pressure,” said Ray Attrill, global co-head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank.
Crude oil extended losses after a meeting of Saudi Arabia and three other nations ahead of Thursday's closely-watched OPEC summit ended with no deal to curb crude output.
US crude was down 24 cents at $73.85 a barrel, near a four-year low of $73.25 hit a little more than a week ago. - Reuters]]>