Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


While you were sleeping: Wall Street flags

While you were sleeping: Wall Street flags

Feb 21 (BusinessDesk) – The Standard & Poor's 500 Index retreated from a five-year high as disappointing US housing numbers failed to offer confidence.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.06 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.42 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.55 percent. The S&P 500 yesterday closed at 1,530.94 the highest in five years and within 35 points of its all-time record high.

"The market seems very tired and listless, and investors are prone to take profits now as they wait for the music to stop," Matt McCormick, money manager at Bahl & Gaynor in Cincinnati, told Reuters.

Economic reports released today provided a mixed picture.

Total housing starts fell to an 890,000 rate last month, which was lower than forecast, even as builders broke ground on 613,000 houses at an annualised rate in January, the most since July 2008.

The data follows yesterday's surprise slide in US home builder confidence this month.

Separately, the producer-price index rose 0.2 percent in January, after declining 0.3 percent in December.

Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's January meeting are due later today.

Minutes from the Bank of England's most recent meeting, released earlier today, helped bolster the FTSE 100 index up 0.3 percent as they showed a growing bias towards expanding stimulus measures.

Governor Mervyn King was among the three members of the nine-member committee who voted in favour of boosting the central bank's current asset purchase program by 25 billion pounds to 400 billion pounds.

"A case could ... be made for undertaking additional asset purchases at this meeting," according to the minutes of the meeting held on February 6 and 7. "[T]he degree of slack in the economy, and the likely positive response of supply capacity to increased demand, meant that higher output growth would not necessarily lead to any material additional inflationary pressure."

Europe's Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.3 percent drop from the previous close. In Germany, the DAX weakened 0.3 percent and in France, the CAC 40 lost 0.7 percent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the value of the euro. The common currency, last trading at US$1.3375, has strengthened more than 10 percent in the past seven months.

“We have to say that euro exchange rates between US$1.30 and US$1.40 are part of the normality of the history of the euro,” she told an event marking 50 years of the German government’s council of economic advisers, according to Bloomberg.

All is not well across Europe though. EU member Cyprus is at risk of defaulting, Standard & Poor's today warned, an event that could renew sovereign debt risks. And in Greece, thousands of workers took to the streets to protest yet again against the government's continuing austerity measures.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: OCR Stays At 2.25%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2.25 percent, in a decision traders had said could go either way, while predicting inflation will pick up as the slump in oil prices washes out of the data and capacity pressures start to build in the economy. More>>

ALSO:

Export Values Down: NZ Posts Biggest Annual Trade Deficit In 7 Years

New Zealand has recorded its biggest annual trade deficit since April 2009, reflecting weaker prices of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, beef and lamb, and increased imports of vehicles and machinery. More>>

ALSO:

Currency Events: NZ's New $5 Note Wins International Banknote Award

New Zealand’s new Brighter Money $5 note has been named Banknote of the Year in a prestigious international competition. The $5 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year title at the International Bank Note Society’s annual meeting. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news