Stocks continued their declines today as fears over European sovereign debt continued to weigh on the market. The S&P 500 lost 0.66%. Volume was once again very heavy and breadth very weak at 4:1. High beta continues to get hammered as the Nasdaq falls 1% and Russell 2,000 declines 1.5%.
From Daily Futures:
ADP Employer Services estimated that private employers added 32,000 jobs in April. Also, their figures for March were revised from a drop of 23,000 to a gain of 19,000. The June U.S. T-bonds were up 17/32nds to 120.17/32nds, the highest close in five months, benefitting from the panic over Greece’s debt.
The Institute of Supply Management’s index of services stayed at 55.4 in April, weaker than expected, but still a sign of expansion.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said that its index of mortgage applications was up 13% last week as buyers rushed to secure federal tax credits. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage slipped from 5.08% to 5.02%.
Grains and Cotton
Bloomberg news interviewed one analyst who said that China has roughly 13 million tons of corn in reserve and they expect shortages to occur sometime this year (see article). July corn finished up 4 cents at $3.73.
There are also concerns that China may be short of cotton this year. July cotton started the day lower, pressured by the stronger dollar, but closed up .79 at 82.08.
June cattle closed up .67 at a new contract high of 96.70, helped by strong demand for wholesale beef.
June hogs dropped 2.27 to 84.47 with concerns that a rising dollar will hurt pork imports.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said that crude oil supplies were up 2.8 million barrels last week to 360.6 million barrels, due to increased imports. Supplies of gasoline were up 1.2 million barrels and heating oil supplies were unchanged. June crude oil dropped $2.77 to $79.97.
The DOE also said that refinery use increased from 89.0% to 89.6% of capacity last week. Over the past four weeks, gasoline demand was up 3.5% from a year ago while distillate demand was up 5.1% from a year ago.
Investors have had mixed feelings about gold lately. Today, June gold closed up $5.80 at $1,175.00, looking like a safer asset in light of Europe’s troubles.
July copper fell 2.70 cents to $3.1515, hurt by a rising dollar and Europe’s debt problems.
Eurostat said that its index of retail sales for the EU-27 was unchanged in March and up .3% from a year ago. Also, a composite index of manufacturing and services in the Euro area increased from 55.9 to 57.3 in April, as expected. The June euro fell 1.78 cents to $1.2827, the lowest close in fourteen months with ongoing concerns about the situation in Greece.
Polls in the U.K. are saying that the Conservative Party holds a slim lead heading into tomorrow’s election.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.