European markets were weaker overnight, in the absence of trading in NY as US markets were closed due to Hurricane Sandy. In London, the UK’s FTSE 100 gave up 12 points (-0.2%) to settle at 5795, whilst the French CAC (-0.8%) and German DAX (-0.4%) suffered slightly heavier losses.
European markets were impacted by data out of Spain, which showed retail sales in the country falling an alarming 11% in September from the previous year.
Data released in the US showed consumer spending climbing more-than-forecast in September and incomes increased. In the commodity space, oil fell to a three-month low as US east coast refineries cut back operations as Hurricane Sandy neared.
Crude shed 74 cents to settle at $85.54 on the NYMEX. Crude is down 14% year-to-date. Gold was also weaker, falling for a second consecutive session as the US dollar strengthened and demand for gold as an alternative investment softened.
Bullion for December delivery finished 0.2% weaker, at US$1708.70 an ounce. The precious metal is down close to 4% this month.
Amongst currencies, the euro slipped to its lowest point against the greenback in three weeks, as increasing concerns about Europe’s new bailout strategy weighed on traders’ minds, and as data showed the debt crisis continues to hurt the region.
In company news, Beach energy released its quarterly production report, in which it showed a 2% increase in production, sales and revenue, when compared to the previous period. Today’s session will see the release of HIA new home sales data (tentative).