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News Foreign Markets

 
US stocks end in the red
18-Jun-18   10:16 Hrs IST

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, 15 June 2018 but well off the lows of the sessions as investors looked past signs of escalating Washington-Beijing trade tensions, an issue that is seen as a major potential headwind but which has thus far been more bark than bite for equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 84.83 points, or 0.3%, to 25,090.48, having dropped 280 points at session lows. The S&P 500 lost 3.07 points to 2,779.42, a decline of 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 14.66 points to 7,746.38, a decline of 0.2%.

For the week, the Dow fell 0.9% while the Nasdaq rose 1.3%. The S&P 500 just barely ended in positive territory, up 0.01%, although that was enough to give the benchmark index, along with the Nasdaq, its fourth straight weekly advance.

The day's trading was split evenly between positive and negative sectors. By far the biggest declining group was energy, on concerns about oversupply. Consumer staples, telecom and utilities sectors were the winners.

President Donald Trump approved tariffs on about $50 billion of Chinese goods, marking the latest escalation in the trade spat between the two countries. Beijing has said it intends to assess tariffs on a corresponding amount of U.S. goods, while Trump said the U.S. would pursue more tariffs if China retaliates.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar against a half-dozen major currencies, traded as high 95.131, a level not seen since July 2017, boosted by lingering U.S. economic optimism. The dollar index has, however, eased back to 94.789, little changed in Friday dealings. The index, heavily weighted toward euros, was up 1.3% this week.

Data Friday showed the Empire State manufacturing survey rose 4.9 points in June to a reading of 25, the highest since October, while the University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index in June rose to a 99.3 reading.

Separately, on Friday, the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy steady, but investors were focused on its comments on consumer-price inflation. That followed comparatively more hawkish tones set by the ECB, which held its benchmark rates in check Thursday, but laid out a timetable to eventually tighten policy sometime next year. The Federal Reserve lifted rates Wednesday by a quarter-point for a seventh time since December of 2015 to a range between 1.75% and 2%.

Bullion prices ended lower at Comex on Friday, 15 June 2018. Gold futures settled at the lowest level of the year on Friday, just a day after finishing at a monthly high, as the benchmark U.S. dollar index briefly touched an 11-month peak, weighing on assets pegged to the monetary unit. The move comes after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

August gold dropped $29.80, or 2.3%, to settle at $1,278.50 an ounce on Friday. Based on the most-active contract, prices settled on Thursday at their highest in roughly a month. On Friday, they marked the lowest settlement since December and lost roughly 1.9% for the week. On Friday, July silver gave up 4.5% to $16.48 an ounce, fueling a loss of around 1.6% for the week.

Crude oil futures dropped sharply on Friday, 15 June 2018 ending the week lower, with global benchmark Brent crude settling at a more-than-six-week low on expectations OPEC and its allies will agree next week to boost output.

August Brent crude, the global benchmark, declined by $2.50, or 3.3%, to $73.44 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. That's the lowest settlement since 2 May 2018, and they suffered a loss of roughly 4% for the week.

July West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, lost $1.83, or 2.7%, to settle at $65.06 a barrel, pulling back after a four-session climb. It saw its lowest finish since 6 June and lost about 1% for the week.

Looking ahead, investors will receive just one economic report, the NAHB Housing Market Index for June, on Monday.

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