US Markets: Wall Street remained lacklustre on Friday, 17 December, with all three stock averages including the Dow Industrials, tech heavy Nasdaq Composite and wider barometer S&P 500 on track to register weekly losses.
The NYSE-controlled Dow Jones slipped more than 500 points in week hours of trading, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite lost over 1% as market participants continued to contemplate the extent of disturbance due to the fresh resurgence of Covid cases across the world with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 effectively overriding the immunity acquired from the double jabs of vaccine.
The caution amidst the institutional participants has furthered after the Bank of England surprisingly hiked the interest rates, emerging as the first major central bank to raise the key lending rates for the first time in the 21-month-long course of Covid-19 pandemic so far.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve indicating three interest rate hikes in 2022 has materially reinstated the jittery with the investors shifting their focus away from tech stocks and volatile assets including the cryptocurrencies. The anticipated time for complete recovery in the national economic output will be further deferred as Omicron has categorically unnerved the sentiments of businesses, as well as investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 499.56 points, or 1.39% down at 35,398.08, the broader share benchmark S&P 500 hovered 42.24 points, or 0.90% lower at 4,626.43, while the tech leader market index Nasdaq Composite oscillated 58.89 points, 0.39% lower at 15,121.54, after slipping below the psychological level of 15,000 to an intraday bottom of 14,960.37.
US Market News: Shares of Goldman Sachs were the biggest losers among the heavyweight components of Dow Industrials with the stock crashing more than 4%. Other major decliners include JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, J&J, American Express, Caterpillar, Visa, Honeywell International, Chevron, Microsoft, 3M, P&G, Apple, Travelers Companies, Walmart, Nike, McDonald’s and Dow as these stocks plunged 1-3%, effectively dragging the market index deeper into losses.
Shares of IBM emerged as the single considerable gainers on Friday as the stock advanced a little more than 1%, the upsurge was followed by Boeing and partly by Merck & Co. These were the only shares that oscillated in the positive territory. The positive points provided collectively by these shares offsetted the negative points marginally.
Across the Nasdaq constituents, shares of NetEase, Starbucks, Adobe Systems, Lululemon Athletica, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Paccar, Verisk Analytics, Cintas, Copal, Intuit, PayPal, Xcel Energy, Trip.com Group, CSX, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Dollar Tree, Fastenal, Alphabet, JD.com, Synopsys, KLA-Tencor, Microsoft, Amgen and PepsiCo dropped 1-6%, potentially erasing the positive points provided by a handful of heavyweights.
UK Markets: London equities were the victim of back-to-back rises in the Covid infections with the UK reporting a fresh daily record high of 93,045 Covid cases on Friday. This has been the third straight record for Covid infections since the beginning of pandemic. A higher rate of infection, at a time when more than 80% of the individuals have been immunised by both the doses has certainly raised alarms with regards to the anticipated efficacy of existing vaccines.
Earlier yesterday, the Department of Health and Social Care reported 88,376 fresh Covid cases, followed by an addition of 78,610 new infections on Wednesday. The Omicron variant of Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) has apparently driven up the cases as the variant is highly transmissible as compared to the already existing strains including the Delta variant that triggered ‘pingdemic’ in July-September quarter of 2021.
A contagion effect of a lacklustre Wall Street was also seen on Friday as all the three American benchmarks are set to finish in the negative territory with Nasdaq Composite terminating 3% lower.
The domestic benchmark FTSE 100 dropped 9.31 points, or 0.13% to conclude at 7,269.92, while the mid-cap heavy FTSE 250 outperformed the headline index as it ended 132.42 points, or 0.58% higher at 22,780.38.
Top 3 volume leaders:, Vodafone Group, Lloyds Banking Group, and BP
Top 3 sectoral indices: Automotive, Travel, and Tobacco
Bottom 3 sectoral indices: Industrial Engineering, Fossil Fuels, and Industrial Chemicals
Crude oil prices: Brent crude down 1.79% at $74.97/barrel; US WTI crude down 1.82% at $72.25/barrel
Gold prices: An ounce of gold traded at $1,805.55, up 0.41%
Exchange rate: GBP vs USD - 1.3260, down 0.44% | GBP vs EUR - 1.1765, up 0.11%
Bond yields: US 10-Year Treasury yield - 1.390% | UK 10-Year Government Bond yield - 0.7565%
Markets @ 16:50 GMT
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