by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com
U.S. stocks finished Friday mixed after data revealed orders for long-lasting manufactured goods beat expectations in April, which drew both applause and concerns the Federal Reserve may rethink its ultra-loose monetary policy.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.06%, the S&P 500 index ended down 0.06%, while the Nasdaq Composite index dipped 0.01%.
The Commerce Department reported earlier that core durable goods orders, which are stripped of volatile transportation items, rose 1.3% in April, far surpassing market expectations for a 0.5% increase after contracting by 1.7% in March.
Broader orders for durable goods, which include transportation items, rose 3.3% last month, more than market calls for a 1.5% increase after a 5.9% contraction in March.
The numbers stoked sentiments that the Federal Reserve may be closer to winding down monetary stimulus programs.
Stimulus tools such as the Fed's monthly USD85 billion bond-buying program weaken the dollar to spur recovery and send stocks rising as a side effect.
Talk of their dismantling can lead to selling in stock markets.
Language out of the Fed in recent days has suggested monetary authorities are debating when to scale back asset purchases.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Procter & Gamble, up 4.05%, Wal-Mart Stores, up 1.30%, and American Express, up 0.80%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Hewlett-Packard, down 2.57%, Verizon Communications, down 0.98%, and Caterpillar, down 0.84%.
European indices, meanwhile, finished lower.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.45%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.26%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished down 0.56%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished down 0.63%.
The dollar gave back earlier gains against most major currencies on Friday, as investors sold the safe-haven currency for profits and snapped up positions in equities markets ahead of a holiday weekend in the U.S.
The dollar rose earlier after official U.S. data revealed that orders for long-lasting manufactured goods came in much stronger than expected for April.
In U.S. trading on Thursday, EUR/USD was down 0.05% at 1.2928.
Solid U.S. manufacturing data sent the dollar higher earlier.
The numbers sparked demand for the greenback earlier by stoking sentiments that the Federal Reserve may be closer to winding down monetary stimulus programs.
Stimulus tools such as the Fed's monthly USD85 billion bond-buying program weaken the dollar to spur recovery, and talk of their dismantling can strengthen the greenback.
The dollar erased those gains later in the session as investors sold the unit and took on risk in the stock market.
The greenback, meanwhile, was down against the pound, with GBP/USD trading up 0.16% at 1.5132.
The dollar was down against the yen, with USD/JPY down 1.08% at 100.91, and down against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF trading down 0.85% at 0.9606.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said earlier that monetary stimulus programs in the country were "necessary" but also "sufficient," which strengthened the yen.
The dollar was up against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 0.20% at 1.0324, AUD/USD down 1.02% at 0.9648 and NZD/USD trading down 0.61% at 0.8084
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.13% at 83.68.
Gold prices fell on Friday after data revealed orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in the U.S. came in much stronger in April than anticipated and fueled demand for the U.S. dollar, which normally trades inversely with gold.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery were down 0.37% at USD1,386.55 a troy ounce in U.S. trading on Friday, up from a session low of USD1,382.65 and down from a high of USD1,396.85 a troy ounce.
Gold futures were likely to test support USD1,353.55 a troy ounce, Wednesday's low, and resistance at USD1,413.05, Wednesday's high.
The dollar gave back its earlier gains on Friday, though gold prices continued to hover in negative territory.
Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for July delivery was down 0.09% at USD22.487 a troy ounce, while copper for July delivery was down 0.09% and trading at USD3.301 a pound.
Oil prices extended Thursday's losses into U.S. trading on Friday after soft Chinese industrial data and rising U.S. gasoline supplies continued to pressure prices lower on fears supply is outstripping demand.
Solid durables goods data failed to boost spirits in energy markets.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in July traded down 0.39% at USD93.88 a barrel on Friday, off from a session high of USD94.43 and up from an earlier session low of USD93.05.
Earlier this week, a preliminary reading of China’s HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 49.6 in May from a final reading of 50.4 in April, missing market expectations for a 50.5 reading.
China is the world's second-largest consumer of oil, and the disappointing output numbers sent crude prices falling on sentiment that global demand for goods produced in the Asian giant's all-important manufacturing sector may be weaker than once thought.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 338,000 barrels in the week ended May 17, compared to expectations for a decline of 778,000 barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 394.6 million barrels as of last week.
Total motor gasoline inventories, however, increased by 3.02 million barrels, well above expectations for an increase of 22,000 barrels, which sent crude prices falling on fears less Americans may be traveling this summer in an economy that is already awash in crude oil.
The U.S. is the world’s biggest oil consuming country, responsible for almost 22% of global oil demand.
Better-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data failed to offset the losses.
Elsewhere on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for July delivery were unchanged at USD102.45 a barrel, up USD8.57 from its U.S. counterpart.
Natural gas prices fell in U.S. trading on Friday after investors locked in gains and sold for profits after official data showed supplies rose less than expected last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in June traded at USD4.237 per million British thermal units, down 0.57%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD4.216 and a high of USD4.295.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Thursday that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ending May 17 rose by 89 billion cubic feet, below expectations for an increase of 91 billion cubic feet, which reflected heightened demand.
Inventories rose by 75 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a rise of 90 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.053 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 680 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 84 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.137 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 111 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net injections of 46 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 22 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 850 billion cubic feet after a net injection of 32 billion cubic feet.
The data sent prices shooting up to levels ripe for profit taking on Friday.
Elsewhere, weather forecasting models pointed to a longer-term warming trend for much of the U.S., though some calls for below-normal temperatures in parts of the eastern U.S. weighed on prices.
Hotter temperatures send prices rising on sentiments that demand for natural gas will increase at the country's thermal power plants as businesses and households crank up their air conditioning units.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in July were down 0.07% and trading at USD94.18 a barrel, while heating oil futures for June delivery were down 0.03% at USD2.8592 per gallon.