Stocks fell for a third consecutive day as worries over China's economic health, simmering tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the absence of any compelling reason to challenge recent record highs in the S&P 500 combining to keep global equity prices into the red.
Financial stocks are underperforming the broader markets, followed by shares of industrial companies, with Dow component Boeing ( BA ) falling 1% today on potential structural flaws to its 787 Dreamliner. Tech stocks also are under pressure with Apple ( AAPL ) and Google ( GOOG ) taking the blame for weakness in the Nasdaq Composite.
Equities began to unravel overnight ahead of what is expected to be another round of bearish Chinese economic data this evening. Retail sales and industrial production are both expected to contract further, fueling concerns that China's economic woes will permeate Western economies. As a barometer to industrial activity, the price of copper plummeted overseas to a four-year low, magnifying selling pressure tied to China and the impact it could have on the fragile European economy.
Crude oil was down $1.41 to $98.60 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.08 to $4.47 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $19.70 to $1,366.20 an ounce, while silver was up $0.31 to $21.13 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $2.95 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.06% to $35.43 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.81% to $24.99. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.82% to 26.53 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 1.38% to $131.65. The iShares Silver Trust was up 1.40% to $20.32.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 23.38 (-0.22%) to 10,402.26
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 30.02 (-0.18%) to 16,321.23
S&P 500 down 3.70 (-0.20%) to 1,863.93
Nasdaq Composite Index up 3.12 (+0.07%) to 4,310.31
Nikkei 225 Index down 2.59%
Hang Seng Index down 1.65%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.17%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.76%
CAC 40 down 0.96%
DAX down 1.09%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.15%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.31%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.29%
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