Thursday's trading session may have been the most glaring
example of just how powerful the bull market in U.S. stocks is
right now. Even though all of the major averages closed slightly
lower on the day, the U.S. market was able to shrug off a global
rout in stock prices that began with a 7.3 percent crash in the
The catalyst for the sell-off in Japan centered on concerns
about a slowing Chinese economy after a purchasing managers index
contracted in May. Despite the steep sell-off in the Nikkei, the
country's equity market is still up nearly 40 percent in 2013 after
the Bank of Japan launched a massive stimulus program to fight
In addition to the plunging Nikkei, losses rippled throughout
much of the world, with the exception of the United States. The
Hang Seng lost 2.54 percent and the major European equity indices
were all down a little more than 2 percent on the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a little less than 13
points, or 0.08 percent, to 15,294.
The S&P 500 fell around 5 points, or 0.29 percent, to close
just above 1,650.
The Nasdaq lost roughly 4 points, or 0.11 percent, to 3,459.
The initial claims level fell to 340,000 for the week ending May
18 compared to an upwardly revised 363,000 for the week ending May
11. This came in better than the consensus expected, with estimates
for initial jobless claims pegged at 348,000.
Continuing claims fell from 3.024 million for the week ending
May 4 to 2.192 million for the week ending May 11. This compared to
consensus expectations calling for a decline to 3.005 million.
New Home Sales
New construction home sales rose 2.3 percent in April to
454,000. This compared to sales of 444,000 in March and came in
well ahead of consensus estimates calling for new home sales of
425,000 for April. Prices for new homes also rose sharply last
month, recording a year over year gain of 14.9 percent to
Energy prices were largely unchanged on the day. Late in the
trading session, NYMEX crude futures, the U.S. benchmark, were flat
at $94.28. Brent crude contracts had lost 0.08 percent to $102.52.
Natural gas futures were last trading up almost 2 percent on the
day to $4.26.
The heavy losses in Japan helped the gold market on Thursday. At
last check, COMEX gold futures had risen 1.65 percent to $1,390.00.
Silver contracts had last risen by 0.53 percent and were trading at
$22.59. Copper futures fell on worldwide risk aversion and were
last down around 1.73 percent.
The grain complex was mostly higher on Thursday. Late in the
day, corn futures had risen 0.53 percent while wheat was up more
than 2 percent. In soft commodities, coffee was down around 1.25
percent while cocoa prices lost nearly 1.50 percent. Overall,
volatility was limited in softs.
Near the close of the stock market, the iShares Barclays 20+
Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:
) was up 0.53 percent to $116.71. The rise in prices pushed yields
lower on the day with the exception of the 2-Year Note yield which
was unchanged at 0.24 percent.
The 5-Year Note yield fell one basis point to 0.89 percent. The
yield on the 10-Year Note lost two basis points to 2.02 percent and
the 30-Year Bond yield fell three basis points to 3.19 percent.
The U.S. dollar was weaker on the day. Near the close of
equities, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:
), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of
foreign currencies, was down 0.66 percent to $22.74.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair jumped 0.83 percent to $1.2932.
Despite the volatility in the Japanese stock market, the USD/JPY
only fell 0.59 percent on the session. The only other significant
mover on the day was the GBP/USD, which fell 0.68 percent.
Volatility and Volume
Despite volatility in global markets, the VIX was only up
marginally on Thursday. The widely watched barometer of market fear
was trading up around 2.60 percent to 14.17 late in the day.
Volume was heavier than normal for the second straight day on
Thursday. Around 187.6 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:
) shares traded hands on the session compared to a 3-month daily
average of 125 million.
Shares of Lender Processing Services (NYSE:
) were up around 12 percent late on Thursday after reports
indicated the company was close to being acquired by Fidelity
National Financial (NYSE:
) and Thomas H. Lee Partners for around $2.9 billion. Fidelity
National Financial had gained a little less than 6 percent on the
buyout news. The iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSE:
) lost more than 4 percent on the day after the rout in the Nikkei.
Pacific Sunwear of California (NASDAQ:
) climbed more than 11 percent after the company released better
than expected Q1 results. Retailer rue21 (NASDAQ:
) rose almost 23 percent after agreeing to be acquired by Apax
Partners for around $1.1 billion. Chip-maker Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:
) was trading down more than 19 percent late on Thursday after the
company guided for lower gross margin in an investor presentation.
Cirrus Logic also said that revenue for the fiscal year is likely
to be affected by an expected decline in average selling prices.
) surged around 17 percent after the company's fiscal first-quarter
financial results. Shares of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE:
) jumped almost 11 percent on Thursday. The stock has been the
subject of insider buying in recent days and also saw bullish
options trading activity on the session. Biotech name MannKind
) climbed for the second straight day on buyout speculation. The
stock closed up almost 10 percent higher on the session.
A host of Japanese ADRs plunged on Thursday. Kyocera (NYSE:
) lost more than 7 percent. Konami (NYSE:
) fell almost 8 percent and Nomura Holdings (NYSE:
) shed 7 percent.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
Profit with More New & Research
. Gain access to a streaming platform with all the information you
need to invest better today.
Click here to start your 14 Day Trial of Benzinga