Friday, August 5, 2011

Fear frenzy consumes U.S. markets

NEW YORK: Investors fled U.S. stocks and dumped commodities on Thursday, Aug 4 rushing to the safety of government bonds on growing fears the global economy was weakening.


* The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index fell 60.27 points, or 4.78 percent, to 1,200.07 its lowest level since December 1, 2010. The S&P 500 has fallen in 8 out of the last 9 sessions.

* Thursday's 4.78 percent decline in the S&P 500 is the biggest one day drop since the 4.912 percent plunge on February 10, 2009.

* The S&P's 10.7 percent drop over the last 10 days is the worst 10-day period for the index since the 10 days ended March 6, 2009 when it was off 11.3 pct in that period.

* The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 512.76 points, or 4.31 percent, to 11,383.68, its lowest close since December 10, 2010. The Dow industrials have fallen 9 out of the last 10 sessions.

* The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 136.68 points, or 5.08 percent, to 2,556.39, its lowest close since December 2, 2010.

* Trading volume in the U.S. equity markets reached 13.8 billion shares, the busiest day since 14.48 billion shares changed hands in composite trading on June 25, 2010.

* The CBOE Volatility index, Wall Street's "fear index," rose 35.4 percent, its largest daily percentage gain since February 27, 2007.


* Biggest 6-day drop in long-dated yields, for both the U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury and the 30-year Treasury bond, since December 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.

* U.S. 2-year Treasury yields hit a record low of 0.26 percent.

* U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to 2.42 percent, lowest since October 2010.

* U.S. 30-year Treasury yields fell to 3.71 percent, the lowest since October 2010.


* The U.S. dollar, trading on the EBS platform, at one point rose as much as 4 percent against the Japanese yen before seeing gains cut.

* The dollar traded up 2.5 percent to 79.03 yen at current prices, the largest one day percentage gain against the Japanese yen since mid-September 2010.

* Japanese authorities intervened in the foreign exchange market on Thursday to stop the yen's rise, spending one trillion yen ($12.6 billion) in the process to help protect exporters. This unilateral intervention followed an internationally coordinated currency intervention to weaken the yen by the world's major central banks in March 2011. Japan also intervened in September of last year.

* The euro suffered its biggest one day fall against the U.S. dollar since July 11, 2011, dropping 1.5 percent at $1.4110.

* The euro fell 1.9 percent at 1.0825 Swiss francs.

* The dollar fell 0.5 percent to 0.7670 Swiss francs.


* The 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index , a global benchmark for the asset class, closed down 2.8 percent for its biggest daily decline since May 11, 2011.

* Gold prices hit a record high in intraday trade of $1,684.90, but fell to close on Thursday to $1,651.40.

* Silver plunged 7 percent to $38.76, its biggest one-day percentage loss since May 11, 2011.

* U.S. crude for September delivery settled at $86.63 a barrel, sliding $5.30, or 5.77 percent, the biggest daily percentage loss since May 5, 2011 and the lowest close since February 18, 2011. Losses accelerated after breaking through a key technical support level at the June low of $89.61.

* Crude oil trading volume in New York of nearly 914,000 contracts was 52.3 percent above the 30-day average, the highest since June 23, according to Reuters data. In London, volume hit 696,000 contracts, 46.7 percent above the 30-day average, the highest since June 24.

* In London, ICE Brent for September delivery settled at $107.25 a barrel, falling $5.98, or 5.28 percent, the biggest one-day percentage loss since June 23's 6.1 percent drop. The settlement was the lowest since the June 27 close at $105.99.

* U.S. gasoline for September delivery closed at $2.7372 a gallon, falling 19.41 cents, or 6.62 percent, front-month gasoline's biggest one-day percentage loss since the May 11 7.6 percent fall. It hit the day's low at $2.7280, the lowest since the February 28 intraday low of $2.70.

* U.S. gasoline's crack spread -- the profit refiners make per barrel after processing crude into motor fuel -- hit $28.05, the narrowest since July 6's 27.23. - Reuters

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