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Broadgate: Market News 11/9

11 September 2012

Wall Street stocks fell on Monday as investors locked in gains on a recent rally ahead of possible policy action from the Federal Reserve later this week, while weakness in Intel shares weighed on the Nasdaq.

The benchmark S&P 500 index closed at highs last week not seen in nearly five years, motivating some investors to pull back from those gains Monday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s decision on Thursday.

“The markets are up a lot, so the short-term risks are on the downside,” said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management in New York.

Shares of Intel Corp lost nearly 4 percent after several brokerages cut price targets on the chipmaker. Shares of Apple Inc, the world’s largest publicly traded company by market value, dropped more than 2 percent as the market’s weakness was felt most in tech shares.

Investors are on guard against the unknown outcomes of several events this week, including a ruling by Germany’s constitutional court on Wednesday on the legality of the euro zone’s permanent financial rescue fund and the Fed decision on Thursday.

Expectations for more stimulus from central banks in the United States and Europe have underpinned markets in recent weeks.

The Fed looks set to launch a third round of bond purchases this week and economists said Friday’s weak report on jobs growth for August was likely to convince the U.S. central bank a looser monetary policy was needed.

Analysts said the uptrend for markets remains intact, and traders were eyeing the 1,440 level on the S&P as the next barrier to further gains.

“When you have the central banks… practicing loose monetary conditions, you basically have a put on the market. And even any weakness that does develop should be somewhat contained,” said Michael Gibbs, co-head of equity advisory group at Raymond James in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 52.35 points, or 0.39 percent, at 13,254.29. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed down 8.84 points, or 0.61 percent, at 1,429.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 32.40 points, or 1.03 percent, to 3,104.02.

Investors sold some big-cap tech names that have done well all year. Worse-than-expected data on imports from China added to selling in the sector.

Chinese import data showed a fall of 2.6 percent on the year in August, short of expectations for a 3.5 percent rise. Exports grew 2.7 percent, below forecasts for a 3 percent rise in a Reuters poll.

American International Group Inc shed 2 percent to $33.30 after the U.S. Treasury Department said it will sell most of its stake in the insurer, making the government a minority investor for the first time since it rescued the company in the depths of the financial crisis four years ago.

Plains Exploration & Production Co said it will buy BP Plc’s stake in some deepwater Gulf of Mexico wells for $5.55 billion to boost its oil production. U.S.-listed shares of BP edged up 0.26 percent to $42.04 and Plains Exploration slumped 10.5 percent to $36.09.

Titan Machinery Inc shares dropped 23 percent to $19.41 after the farm equipment retailer cut its full-year profit forecast after it reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as the worst drought in 56 years in the U.S. Midwest hit prices of tractors and combines.

On both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, three stocks fell for every two that rose.

Volume was light, with about 5.56 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, below last year’s daily average of 7.84 billion.


Oil rose on Monday in choppy trading as supportive expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will act to stimulate the economy were countered by weak data from China that raised concerns about demand for oil.

Brent October crude rose 56 cents to settle at $114.81 a barrel, having traded from $113.92 to $115.05.

The Brent October contract expires on Thursday.

Gold eased on Monday as investors took profits, but the metal stayed near a six-month high after last week’s disappointing U.S. payrolls data boosted hopes that the Federal Reserve could unveil new stimulus as early as Thursday.

Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,728.97 an ounce by 2:42 p.m. EDT (1842 GMT), having risen 2.7 percent last week, racking up a third consecutive weekly increase and its longest stretch of weekly gains since the start of the year.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $8.70 at $1,731.80 an ounce with trading volume set to finish about 45 percent below its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed


The euro hovered below a near-four-month peak against the dollar on Tuesday as traders grew wary after the currency’s sharp gains late last week and ahead of key events in Europe and the United States.

The euro traded at $1.2760, unchanged in early Asian trade and off a high around $1.2815 hit on Friday just after poor U.S. job data raised expectations that the Fed will likely launch another asset purchase program on Sept 13.

As a result, the dollar stood near a four-month low against a basket of currencies. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 78.20 yen, near five-week low of 78.02 yen hit on Friday

Source:  Reuters.com

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