February 28, 2024

Wall Street Ventures Into Positive Territory

Some analysts attributed the recent losses in the financial markets, especially in the United States, to concerns about whether the governments of developed economies were doing enough to support growth.

Traders said the declines also reflected broad pessimism about the debt crisis in the euro zone and intensifying fears about the economic outlook,  despite the release of a joint statement late Thursday in Washington by the world’s major economies that reiterated their commitment to the stability of banks and financial markets.

The statement by the Group of 20 nations did not, however, include commitments to new action or any talk of additional support for Europe.

“All in all, there appeared to be nothing in the way of concrete new action and markets were generally underwhelmed,” said Sue Trinh,  senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

The three main indexes on Wall Street wavered on Friday. In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 66.56 points, or 0.6 percent, to 10,800.39, after a steep decline of 3.5 percent on Thursday, its largest drop since Aug. 18. The broader Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was up 1 percent and the Nasdaq composite index gained 1.4 percent.

Europe trimmed sharp losses and turned positive late in the day. The FTSE 100 in London closed up 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 1 percent. The DAX in Frankfurt added 0.6 percent.

The yield on the 10-year United States Treasury note rose to 1.808 percent after hitting a new low of 1.6865 percent.

The yields have declined in the wake of the Federal Reserve announcement on Wednesday that a complete economic recovery was still years away and that there were “significant downside risks to the economic outlook, including strains in global financial markets.”

The Fed also announced it would buy long-term Treasury bonds and sell short-term bonds to help stimulate lending and growth.

Some analysts attributed market declines to disappointment that the Fed did not act more forcefully and to little faith that policy tools like lower interest rates could encourage consumers to spend more when they are already worried about jobs.

“The Fed just moved the deck chairs,” said Steve Blitz, the senior economist for ITG Investment Research. “When you see a 10-year Treasury trading at 1.7 percent, the market is telling you that real growth over the next 10 years is going to be zero.

“So it is not so much deflation, but that no one sees the growth that is going to generate demand to borrow,” Mr. Blitz added. “You need confidence to borrow. If people had confidence, they would be falling all over themselves to borrow.”

Gold prices fell further. The spot gold price fell 5.4 percent to $1,645.60 an ounce. Benchmark light, sweet crude oil futures contracts was flat at $80.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The weakness in commodities prices suggested to some analysts that investors are starting to bet that the likelihood of a recession in major economies was increasing.

Andreas Hürkamp, chief equity analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said declines in commodity prices and fears about a possible near-term default by Greece offset an initial rally Friday.

“Until recently, commodity prices had been stable despite the weakness in equities,” Mr. Hürkamp said. “Now that seems to be changing.”

The rise in the dollar has sent crude prices lower, pushing down on stocks in the energy sector, which was down about 10 percent this week.

Brian M. Youngberg, energy analyst for Edward Jones, said concerns over the global economy throws into question future oil demand.

“It is kind of the calm after the storm today,” he said. “There was significant panic yesterday with some data out of China maybe signaling that the Chinese economy may be slowing its growth rate, and then on top of that concerns of a double-dip recession in the United States and ongoing concerns about Europe.

“All those factors caused investors to take risk off the table and avoid sectors that are viewed to be tied to the economy,” Mr. Youngberg said.

The backdrop remained new signs of political paralysis in Washington and Europe’s continued failure to resolve its debt crisis.

The Greek government denied on Friday newspaper reports that it was studying the possibility of an orderly default with 50 percent write-downs for bondholders, Reuters reported.      

Dominic Rossi, chief equity investment officer at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, said he expected economic news over the next few weeks to worsen.  

“Markets have reacted badly to the Fed’s policy statement, and European sovereign debt issues continue to rumble on,” said Mr. Rossi. In Asia, South Korea’s Kospi registered a 5.7 percent drop, followed by Taiwan’s Taiex index, which fell 3.6 percent.

Analysts also said the Kospi drop was partially due to investor concern of a slowdown in the rate of growth in China,  South Korea’s largest trading partner. Markets in Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand also were lower on Friday, but registered smaller losses than on Thursday.

Matthew Saltmarsh reported from London. Kevin Drew contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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