Monday, 17 June 2013

Dow drops on profit-taking, consumer data

NEW YORK: US stocks extended their slide on Friday, with the Dow losing more than 100 points as investors booked profits a day after the S&P 500 recorded its second-best session of the year and data showed consumer sentiment cooled off in June. 

On Thursday, the S&P 500 scored its biggest gain since Jan. 2, ending a three-day decline, as stronger-than-expected economic data helped reassure investors who had been anxious about an expected slowdown in the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus. In Friday's session, the Fed and other central banks were back in focus as investors worried about how soon the stimulus programs will be trimmed. 

Financial stocks led the market's decline to near session lows after data showed consumer sentiment edged off a six-year high in June while manufacturing output picked up a bit last month after two straight months of declines, suggesting the economy remains on a moderate growth path. 

The S&P financial sector index slid 1.3 percent. The market is "giving back some of those gains yesterday, which I think really caught people by surprise ... and I certainly think the economic news wasn't bullish," said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. 

"We go through these ups and downs," he said. "I would still say this market is certainly driven by central banker thoughts and currency marketsthe Japanese yen." 

The dollar extended losses against the yen on Friday, putting it on course for its worst week since July 2009 as volatile stock markets had investors unwinding bets against the yen. "Carry trades are the big deal," Saluzzi said. "It hasn't been a profitable trade over the last month, although for a while, that was considered the place to be. But now it's sort of imploding." 

Carry trades refer to the practice of borrowing money cheaply to invest in higher-yielding assets and make a profit. 

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 119.91 points, or 0.79 percent, at 15,056.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 11.42 points, or 0.70 percent, at 1,624.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 23.99 points, or 0.70 percent, at 3,421.38. 

By Friday afternoon, the Dow had swung about 159 points its session high to its intraday low. For the last 14 days, the Dow's average swing has been 192 points. DuPont was the Dow's biggest percentage decliner. Its stock fell 2.6 percent to $52.49 after a brokerage cut its price target on the blue-chip stock following the company's second-quarter pre-announcement on Thursday. 

JPMorgan Chase & Co shares fell 2 percent to $53.09 after the company said its private equity unit, One Equity Partners, will become independent the bank and raise future funds an external group of partners. The stock was the Dow's fourth-largest percentage decliner. 

Bank of America shares fell 1.1 percent to $13.07 and ranked among the Dow's 10 worst performers. The SPDR Financial ETF XLF also lost 1.2 percent. With the day's decline, the three major US stock indexes were on track to end the week down about 1 percent. 

Anxiety about the longevity of looser monetary policy around the world has roiled markets recently. Nerves were stretched further this week when the Bank of Japan held policy steady. The prospect that the accommodative stance of the Fed and other central banks could be pulled back sooner than expected has prompted traders to rethink bets that were built around that support.

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