Global stocks dipped on Friday as data out of China, the euro zone and the United States put a lid on expectations for a sustained global rebound, with traders already worried about a delay in U.S. fiscal stimulus.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed down 15.45 points, or 0.09%, at 16,514.61.
The materials sector fell 0.3% as gold ticked lower and was on track for its steepest weekly fall since March, following a string of nine weeks of gains.
Spot gold dropped 0.6% to $1,940.99 an ounce. Silver, also on track for a weekly loss after a long string of gains, fell 4.92% to $26.20.
Energy stocks finished up 0.9% despite oil edging further below $45 a barrel, giving up some of this week’s gain, under pressure from doubts about demand recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising supply.
U.S. crude recently fell 0.28% to $42.12 per barrel and Brent was at $44.86, down 0.22% on the day.
The utilities sector slipped 0.7%, while financial stocks lost almost 0.1%.
The S&P 500 closed nearly flat on Friday despite coming close again to its record closing high, as data on the U.S. economy added to uncertainty over the recovery.
Aggressive stimulus measures have helped the three main U.S. stock indexes bounce back from a coronavirus-driven crash in March, and the S&P 500 briefly traded above its Feb. 19 record close of 3,386.15 for a second straight day on Thursday.
Friday’s declines put the record a bit further out of reach.
“Investors are taking a pause. We’ve advanced pretty far off of the March 23 lows, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty with regard to the overall economy, as well as the increase in case count that we’ve seen over the past month or so,” said Brian Price, head of investments for Commonwealth Financial Network.
“I think the market is going to tread water here for a little bit.”
Data on Friday showed U.S. retail sales increased less than expected last month and could slow further due to spiraling COVID-19 cases and a reduction in unemployment benefit checks.
Separately, readings showed that U.S. factory output increased more than expected in July but remained below pre-pandemic levels while consumer sentiment was largely steady in the first half of August.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34.64 points, or 0.12%, to 27,931.36, the S&P 500 lost 0.56 points, or 0.02%, to 3,372.87 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 23.20 points, or 0.21%, to 11,019.30.
Adding to uncertainty, prospects of more fiscal aid have faded with the Senate and House of Representatives in recess and no fresh talks scheduled.
The upcoming U.S. presidential election is adding another layer of caution, along with continued outbreaks of the virus in parts of the United States.
Applied Materials Inc gained after it forecast fourth-quarter revenue above analysts’ estimates following a rebound in demand for chip equipment and services.
European shares were weighed further by a hit to travel stocks after Britain added more European countries, including France, to its quarantine list amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 1.20%, although still on track to gain for a second straight week.
MSCI’s world index shed 0.43%, drifting further from all-time highs touched in February. The index has still rallied close to 50% from March’s trough despite the pandemic.
The euro zone reported the biggest drop it ever recorded in employment in the second quarter. Data also confirmed a record fall in gross domestic product last quarter and a widening in the euro zone’s trade surplus with the rest of the world.
Data showing a slower-than-expected rise in Chinese industrial production and a surprise fall in retail sales put Asian shares on the defensive.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2%, although shares in Japan rose 0.2% and Chinese shares rose 1.5% in choppy trade.
Yields on U.S. Treasuries dipped but remained elevated after an auction of 30-year bonds on Thursday met weak demand.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 2/32 in price to yield 0.711%, from 0.716% late on Thursday.
A review of the U.S.-China trade deal initially slated for Saturday will be delayed due to scheduling issues and no new date has been agreed upon, according to sources familiar with the plans.
Gold ticked lower and was on track for its steepest weekly fall since March, following a string of nine weeks of gains.
Spot gold dropped 0.6% to $1,940.99 an ounce. Silver , also on track for a weekly loss after a long string of gains, fell 4.92% to $26.20.
The dollar index was headed for an eighth consecutive week of losses, its longest weekly losing streak in a decade. The index fell 0.153%, with the euro up 0.19% to $1.1835.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.34% versus the greenback at 106.56 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3087, up 0.18% on the day.
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