Amidst Economic And Geopolitical Challenges, Gold Prices Rise While Wall Street Closes Lower

Wall Street

On Thursday, US equities swung from red to green and back as investors grappled with the conflicting forces of a healthy economy and restrictive Federal Reserve policies. Benchmark Treasury yields resumed their rise, while gold gained momentum as ongoing turbulence in the Middle East boosted the safe-haven trade.

Wall Street
Wall Street; Source- Yahoo Finance

Fluctuations Of Stock Indexes

Throughout the session, all three major US stock indexes fluctuated, with the Nasdaq falling the most due to weakness in the semiconductor sector. The S&P 500 fell alongside the Nasdaq, but the blue-chip Dow rose somewhat. All three indexes were poised for weekly falls. Economic statistics issued on Thursday showed a mixed picture, with low unemployment claims and strong factory data contrasted with lower-than-expected house sales and leading economic index readings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 22.07 points, or 0.06%, to 37,775.38, while the S&P 500 fell 11.09 points, or 0.22%, to 5,011.12, and the Nasdaq Composite down 81.87 points, or 0.52%, to 15,601.50. European equities closed higher as positive results buoyed the benchmark index, offsetting uncertainty about geopolitical tensions and the timing of central bank rate cuts.

MSCI’s Stock Index

The pan-European STOXX 600 index jumped 0.24%, while MSCI’s global stock index increased by %. Emerging market stocks gained 0.46%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific equities outside Japan closed up 0.57%, while Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.31%. Treasury rates held near their highest levels since November, as strong economic data supported Fed policymakers’ worries that the inflation slowdown may have paused. Benchmark 10-year notes slipped 12/32 in price and yielded 4.6326%, down from 4.585% late Wednesday.

The 30-year bond dipped 16/32 in price and yielded 4.7323%, down from 4.699% late Wednesday. The dollar climbed against a basket of international currencies as statistics confirmed that the US economy is on strong ground, reinforcing the idea that the Fed may postpone its first rate cut. The dollar index gained 0.19%, while the euro fell 0.26% to $1.0643. The Japanese yen fell 0.15% to 154.62 per dollar. Sterling was last trading at $1.2436, down 0.08% for the day.

Oil Prices

Crude oil prices remained at three-week lows as mixed economic data was offset by US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, as well as simmering Middle East concerns. U.S. crude rose 0.05% to $82.73 a barrel, while Brent fell 0.21% to $87.11 for the day. Gold rose as the safe-haven commodity benefited from ongoing Middle Eastern turbulence and the potential of fewer than-expected US rate cuts this year. Spot gold rose 0.8% to $2,379.98 per ounce.

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