Equities are back at nosebleed levels as pent-up demand, rekindled by better-than-expected Chinese and U.S. manufacturing data, builds on early gains in global equities. Gains are across nearly all sectors with the exception of consumer staples and utilities, the latter of which is lower from a swap into higher yielding Treasury securities. Tech stocks continue to outperform with gains in IBM ( IBM ) and Netflix ( NFLX ) behind yet another record high in the Nasdaq Composite.
Global purchasing manager's indices across the globe last night were mostly mixed with China higher, but most of Europe declining. In the U.S., the June manufacturing PMI jumped to 57.3 from May's 56.4, beating expectations of 57.0. This overshadowed the weaker than expected June Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index of 55.3 vs 55.6 estimates, and an anemic 0.1% increase in construction spending, much less than the consensus estimate for a 0.5% gain.
European equities closed higher with investors encouraged by the effect sluggish EU economic growth and adverse appreciation in the euro will have on European monetary policy. Mining stocks led the pack higher as a strong Chinese economy is expected to fuel demand for industrial metals such as copper, while banking stocks got a boost from the rebound in BNP Paribas after the French bank agreed to a $9 billion settlement with U.S. regulators.
Crude oil was down $0.26 to $105.12 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.01 to $4.43 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $5.00 to $1,327.00 an ounce, while silver was up $0.11 to $21.17 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $3.20 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.35% to $38.75 with the United States Natural Gas Fund down 0.49% to $24.48. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.49% to 26.30 while SPDR Gold Shares was down 0.19% to $127.80. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.25% to $20.30.
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