The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down for the sixth consecutive day as lackluster second quarter earnings led by yesterday's miss from Disney ( DIS ), and caution ahead of Friday's July payroll report drives the blue-chip index below pivotal support at 17,500 for a loss of more than 100 points. The worst performer, however, is the Nasdaq Composite as high-beta sectors biotechs and chipmakers take on heavy losses.
After a slightly firmer open with little reaction to less-than-expected gain in initial jobless claims, equities drifted back into the red after the open weighed down by downbeat earnings from Keurig Green Mountain ( GMCR ), Tesla ( TSLA ) and spillover from yesterday's sell-off in Dow component stock Disney ( DIS ).
And although today's jobs report was a non-event, it underscored the risk with Friday's non-farm payroll report in determining whether or not the Federal Reserve raises interest rates next month. The persistent strength in the job market could be the catalyst for the Fed to hike rates 25 basis points next month despite lingering below-target inflation. Wall Street analysts expect July non-farm payrolls to increase anywhere from 210,000 to a very robust 262,000.
New jobless claims for the week ended August 1 rose just 3,000 to 270,000 from an unrevised +267,000 the week prior. Wall Street was looking for a more substantial gain of 6,000.
European equities gave back their earlier gains in sympathy with the U.S. led by Germany's DAX. The UK FTSE closed with a narrow loss as today's Bank of England Monetary Policy Meeting and minutes from the prior meeting suggested that the inability of the economy to meet inflation targets, and detrimental impact on exports from the stronger sterling could preclude the BOE from hiking rates too soon.
Crude oil was down $0.88 to $44.27 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.02 to $2.82 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $3.50 to $1,089.00 an ounce, while silver was up $0.07 to $14.63 an ounce. Copper was down $0.01 to $2.34 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 2.06% to $14.71 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.12% to $13.49. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 2.56% to 13.43 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.54% to $104.49. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.44% to $14.01.
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