The S&P 500 closed lower, snapping the broad index’s longest winning streak in years, as investors confronted fresh trade tensions and further signs that economic growth around the world is slowing. The Trump administration on Monday released a list of about $11 billion worth of European goods it was considering putting tariffs on, including bicycles, kitchen knives and civil aviation products like the Airbus aircraft, ratcheting up the trade spat between Brussels and Washington. Investors now worry that the move represents a new antagonistic phase for U.S. officials that could keep a trade resolution with China out of reach for the foreseeable future, potentially disrupting a stock market that had been pricing in the likelihood of a new pact. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% in the afternoon as investors assessed the Trump administration’s latest move, putting the broad index on pace to notch its first daily decline in nine trading sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, fell 189 points, or 0.7%, to 26151, while the Nasdaq Composite slid 1%. Earlier in the day, Asia-Pacific equities started little changed, and that’s where most finished after Monday’s modest declines globally following last week’s strength, as investors await the next market-moving headlines. Thanks to a late rebound, Chinese stocks were among the day’s better performers, while Taiwan’s benchmark shined again to rise 0.5%%, hitting another six-month high. Indonesia’s market, though, was the strongest, reversing Monday’s underperformance as most Asian indexes were up slightly.
Meanwhile, gold futures settled at their highest in nearly two weeks, logging a second straight finish above $1,300, as weakness in the U.S. dollar and concerns over global growth provided a runway higher for the precious metal. Gold for June delivery on Comex rose $6.40, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,308.30 an ounce, after closing up 0.5% on Monday. The settlement was the highest for a most-active contract since March 27, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, May silver finished at $15.211 an ounce, down a half penny, following a 0.9% rise a day earlier.
Iron Ore: 91.44s – 1.65 (May Contract)
Oil prices swung between small gains and losses before ending lower, wobbling near five-month highs as investors weighed the latest supply signals and looked ahead to the latest reading on U.S. stockpiles. West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. crude benchmark, closed down 42 cents, or 0.7%, at $63.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have added roughly 41% so far this year, though they are still about 16% below their multiyear highs from early October. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, inched down 49 cents, or 0.7%, to $70.61 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. Production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have boosted oil prices early in 2019 after a fourth-quarter price rout, and disruptions in Libya, Venezuela and Iran have also fueled the rally. Libya is on the brink of a civil war, and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran have disrupted crude flows around the world.
The U.S. dollar fell for a second straight session, dragging a closely watched index to its lowest level in nearly two weeks. The ICE Dollar Index, a measure of the greenback against six trading partners, was trading at 96.997, down 0.1%. The index fell 0.4% on Monday. “We caution that the vulnerability of USD longs has been exposed, and this will put a cap on top of the broad value of the greenback for the time being,” wrote Stephen Gallo, European head of FX strategy at BMO Financial Group. “As far as a short-term extension of [U.S. dollar] weakness is concerned, a daily close above $1.1280 in EURUSD would provide an impetus for a stab at the $1.1325/50 range. We’d ultimately like to sell the pair up there if those levels materialize.” The euro accounts for more than 50% of the popular index’s weighting. The euro was changing hands at $1.1268, up less than 0.1%. The common currency hit an intraday high at $1.1285, its strongest level against bucks since March 27.
Philippine markets were closed. The shallow gains in Asia saw both Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.2%. The Nikkei closed at 21802.59 while the broader Topix eased 0.1%. Sony was the market standout, soaring 9.3% following a Monday report that U.S. investor Third Point is building a stake. It was the biggest gain since November 2017. Meanwhile, Indian shares recovered, helped by gains in bank and auto stocks. The S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.6% to 38,939.22 after falling as much as 0.3% in early trade. Investors’ sentiment improved after India’s ruling BJP’s election manifesto pledged to continue existing policies. The market participants focus will now shift to the inflation data due later this week. Hong Kong’s stock benchmark turned higher by late morning and kept modest gains the rest of the day. The Hang Seng rose for the ninth day in 10 with a 0.3% rise to 30157.49, another 10-month closing high.