Thursday, November 8, 2012
U.S. stocks were punished for a second straight session for a very similar set of reason as Wednesday; worries about the stalemate in Washington D.C. regarding the fiscal cliff, and a general sense of worry about Europe. The S&P 500 fell 1.2% and NASDAQ 1.4%. McDonald's shares fell 2% after the company reported its first monthly drop in global sales since March 2003.
- The trade deficit for September narrowed to $41.5 billion. Analysts were expecting the gap to widen to $45.4 billion. That is 5.1% below the August deficit and the smallest imbalance since December 2010.
- Exports climbed 3.1% to an all-time high $187 billion, reflecting stronger sales of commercial aircraft, heavy machinery and farm goods. Imports were also up, rising 1.5% to $228.5 billion, reflecting a jump in shipments of consumer goods from cell phones to clothing and toys.
- The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000. But officials cautioned that the figures were distorted by Sandy. Applications declined in one state last week because its unemployment office lost power during the storm and wasn't able to receive applications.
Crude rose 65 cents to $85.09 a barrel. Gold gained $12 to settle at $1,726 while silver rose 57.9 cents to finish at $32.24.
Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3% and the DAX in Germany declined 0.4% while France's CAC 40 lost 0.1%.
- The European Central Bank on Thursday held interest rates steady at 0.75% and ECB President Mario Draghi said the economic forecast had worsened with the central bank still ready to start its bond-buying plan if governments meet the required conditions.
- The Bank of England left its interest rate unchanged and kept its asset purchase program at £375 billion.
The Shanghai Composite dropped 1.6% and Japan's Nikkei 1.5% as they reacted to the selloff in the U.S.