Global markets finished slightly weaker overnight, with the international bulls taking a breather after a recent string of gains. European stocks were little changed, after the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index yesterday extended its highest level since June 2008.
In London the UK’s FTSE 100 gave up six points (-0.1%) to settle at 6688, whilst the German DAX put on seven points (+0.1%) to 8370.
U.S. stocks fell, ending four sessions of records for the S&P 500 Index, amid disappointing economic data and after a Federal Reserve official said the central bank may slow the pace of stimulus as early as this summer.
Reports today suggested a slowdown in U.S. economic growth. Jobless claims jumped by 32,000 to 360,000 in the week ended May 11, the most since the end of March, Labor Department figures showed.
Housing starts slumped 16.5 percent in April, the most since February 2011, the Commerce Department reported.
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly contracted in May for the first time in three months as new orders retreated and factories cut back on employment and hours.
Another report showed the cost of living in the U.S. fell in April for a second month, the first back-to-back declines in inflation since late 2008. There is no major local economic data due out for today’s session.
Gold futures fell, capping the longest slump in 16 months, as U.S. filings showed that George Soros and BlackRock cut stakes in exchange-traded products backed by the metal, signaling waning investment demand.
Gold futures for June delivery dropped 0.7% to close at $1,386.90 on the Comex in New York. Crude rose on speculation that central banks will bolster stimulus after more Americans than projected filed for unemployment benefits and U.S. consumer prices decreased.
Oil for June delivery advanced 86 cents to settle at $95.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. There is no major local economic data due out during today’s session.