U.S. stocks were mixed after the close on Friday, as gains in the Financials, Utilities and Healthcare sectors led shares higher while losses in the Oil & Gas, Technology and Consumer Services sectors led shares lower.
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The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were The Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV), which rose 3.98% or 4.58 points to trade at 119.76 at the close. Meanwhile, Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) added 1.10% or 1.73 points to end at 159.66 and Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) was up 1.05% or 2.47 points to 238.78 in late trade.
The worst performers of the session were Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which fell 1.63% or 2.63 points to trade at 158.63 at the close. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) declined 1.55% or 1.24 points to end at 78.88 and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) was down 0.98% or 0.35 points to 35.19.
The top performers on the S&P 500 were XL Group Ltd (NYSE:XL) which rose 5.84% to 38.61, Chubb Ltd (NYSE:CB) which was up 4.43% to settle at 140.85 and AbbVie Inc(NYSE:ABBV) which gained 4.35% to close at 85.340.
The worst performers were Equifax Inc (NYSE:EFX) which was down 13.66% to 123.23 in late trade, Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) which lost 7.51% to settle at 21.06 and Range Resources Corporation (NYSE:RRC) which was down 7.43% to 16.58 at the close.
The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Oncobiologics Inc (NASDAQ:ONS) which rose 124.44% to 2.02, Kura Oncology Inc (NASDAQ:KURA) which was up 72.26% to settle at 11.800 and Eleven Biotherapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:EBIO) which gained 38.66% to close at 1.6500.
The worst performers were Tintri Inc (NASDAQ:TNTR) which was down 31.89% to 4.55 in late trade, Citius Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CTXR) which lost 19.35% to settle at 3.250 and Lifevantage Corporation (NASDAQ:LFVN) which was down 19.33% to 3.880 at the close.
Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1678 to 1413 and 143 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1246 rose and 1223 declined, while 173 ended unchanged.
Shares in Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) fell to 3-years lows; losing 7.51% or 1.71 to 21.06. Shares in AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) rose to all time highs; up 4.35% or 3.560 to 85.340. Shares in Range Resources Corporation (NYSE:RRC) fell to 5-year lows; down 7.43% or 1.33 to 16.58. Shares in Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) rose to all time highs; up 1.10% or 1.73 to 159.66. Shares in Tintri Inc (NASDAQ:TNTR) fell to all time lows; falling 31.89% or 2.13 to 4.55. Shares in Kura Oncology Inc (NASDAQ:KURA) rose to 52-week highs; up 72.26% or 4.950 to 11.800.
The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 5.54% to 12.19.
Gold Futures for December delivery was up 0.12% or 1.59 to $1351.89 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in October fell 3.14% or 1.54 to hit $47.55 a barrel, while the November Brent oil contract fell 1.41% or 0.77 to trade at $53.72 a barrel.
EUR/USD was up 0.11% to 1.2035, while USD/JPY fell 0.60% to 107.80.
The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.23% at 91.28.
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The dollar remained at more than two-and-a-half year lows on Friday amid a fall in expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike rates this year while the euro continued its trend higher following the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell by 0.25% to 91.26.
The dollar was on track to the post its biggest weekly loss since June as concerns over geopolitical uncertainty, Hurricane Irma and falling expectations of U.S. monetary policy tightening weighed on sentiment.
Safe haven currencies like the yen and Swiss franc gained against the dollar as geopolitical uncertainty on the Korean peninsula is expected to renew amid fears that North Korea may launch another missile on Saturday as the country celebrates its 69th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Fears over renewed geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and North Korea come amid a sharp drop in U.S. treasuries after a slew of dovish comments from Fed officials dampened expectations of a Federal Reserve rate hike this year, piling pressure on the greenback.
New York Fed President William Dudley, however, reiterated on Thursday that the central bank should continue to gradually raise U.S. interest rates as low inflation should rebound.
Meanwhile, the euro continued its recent climb higher against the greenback, following European Central Bank president Mario Draghi’s speech on Thursday, in which he reaffirmed that policymakers will decide on tapering monetary policy stimulus in October.
GBP/USD rose 0.62% to $1.3192, as data showed both manufacturing and industrial growth remained solid in July.
USD/CAD gained 0.16% to C$1.2138.
Euro net longs are at a 6-year high; Gold net longs are at a 1-year high. Bullishness has increased for gold and crude oil.
Note: This data is for the week ending on Tuesday 05 Se[tember so the last three days of trading is not reflected.
Gold prices traded at one-year highs on Friday, supported by continued dollar weakness amid a drop in investor expectations of a December rate hike, after New York Fed president William Dudley appeared to adopt a less hawkish stance on monetary policy tightening.
Gold futures for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose by $1.98, or 0.15%, to $1,352.36 a troy ounce.
The dollar drifted to a thirty-two-month low, boosting demand for the precious metal in the wake of William Dudley’s comments on monetary policy tightening.
“It’s too soon to judge exactly the timing of when the next rate hike might occur, but the path is still clear that short term rates are going to move higher,” said Dudley, one of the central bank’s key decision-makers.
Dudley’s remarks were viewed as less hawkish, pointing to a potential dip in sentiment among Fed members on additional rate hikes this year, as it was only a month ago that the New York Fed president said that he expected rates to raise once more this year.
Gold is sensitive to moves lower in both bond yields and the U.S. dollar – A lower dollar makes gold less expensive for holders of foreign currency while a dip in U.S. rates, reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.
Also supporting the yellow metal were fears that geopolitical uncertainty is poised to increase over the weekend as North Korea may launch another missile on Saturday to celebrate its 69th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Oil prices settled lower on Friday as U.S. refineries continued to recover at a slow pace in the wake of flooding due to Storm Harvey which kept demand for crude oil subdued.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for October delivery fell more than 3% to settle at $47.48 a barrel, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent lost 1.34% to trade at $53.76 a barrel.
Two weeks after Storm Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, knocking out a quarter of U.S. oil refining capacity, oil prices continued to come under pressure as refineries have been slow to restart, weighing on demand for crude oil, the primary input at refineries.
Analysts said, however, that the slowdown in refining and output should be temporary. U.S. investment bank Jefferies said:
“Most refineries are restarting and we expect a near-full recovery by month-end.”
Falling crude prices have weighed on U.S. drilling activity over recent weeks, as data showed the number of U.S. oil rigs fell from the prior week.
Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said its weekly count of oil rigs operating in the United States declined by 3 to 756.
The weekly rig count is an important barometer for the drilling industry and serves as a proxy for oil production and oil services demand.
The dip in crude demand was reflected in a report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday showing crude stockpiles rose for the first time in ten weeks.
Inventories of U.S. crude rose by roughly 4.6m barrels in the week ended Sept. 1, missing expectations of a rise of about only 4m barrels.
Meanwhile, investors continued to monitor the impact of Hurricane Irma on oil demand. Irma is expected to reach Florida by Saturday.
Natural Gas (Thursday Report)
U.S. natural gas futures edged lower on Thursday, after data showed that domestic supplies in storage increased slightly more than expected last week.
U.S. natural gas for October delivery was at $2.994 per million British thermal units by 10:35AM ET (1435GMT), down 0.6 cents, or 0.2%. Futures were at around $2.995 prior to the release of the supply data.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 65 billion cubic feet in the week ended Sept. 1, just above forecasts for a build of 64 billion.
That compared with a gain of 30 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, a build of 36 billion a year earlier and a five-year average rise of 58 billion cubic feet.
Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.220 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, around 6.2% lower than levels at this time a year ago and mostly in line with the five-year average for this time of year.
Natural gas futures ended around 1% higher on Wednesday, as traders remained wary of Hurricane Irma, ranked as one of the five most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in the last 80 years.
Adding to concerns, there are two more tropical storms on Irma’s heels.
Jose, heading for the Caribbean, strengthened to a hurricane and could become a major Category 3 storm by Friday, while Katia churned in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to come ashore in Mexico.
The weather threats come after Hurricane Harvey caused flooding and devastation in Texas less than two weeks ago, forcing the closure of several refineries and pipelines.
Energy traders track tropical weather in the event it disrupts production in the Gulf of Mexico.