International equity markets finished with mixed results overnight, amid concern over the election result in Italy. Moreover, the looming March 1 deadline for US policy makers to come to an agreement in order to prevent automatic spending cuts also weighed on investor sentiment.
In Europe, the UK’s FTSE gained 20 points (+0.3%) to settle at 6355 whilst Germany’s DAX climbed 111 points (+1.5%) to settle at 7773. France’s CAC increased 15 points (+0.4%) to settle at 3721. In the US the situation turned around dramatically, with the positive momentum from the European session quickly undone.
Stocks were dumped en masse, giving benchmark indexes their biggest losses since November, as partial election results spurred concern about prospects for a stable government in Italy and a worsening of Europe’s debt crisis.
The Dow Jones slashed 216 points (-1.6%) to settle at 13784 whilst the S&P declined 28 points (-1.8%) to settle at 1488. The Nasdaq fell 46 points (-1.4%) to settle at 3116.
In the commodity space, crude oil for April delivery declined two cents to settle at $93.11 per barrel after it was reported that China’s flash PMI fell to 50.4 in February, compared to the prior month’s 52.3 reading.
Gold for April delivery rose $13.80 (+0.9%) to settle at $1586.60 per ounce as uncertainty in the euro region boosted the commodity’s safe haven appeal.
In the currency space, the Japanese yen finished higher as investors sought the currency’s safety amid uncertainty in the eurozone and the US. The euro fell against the US dollar on the back of uncertainty in the Italian elections.
There is no major local economic data slated for release today