Wall Street has surrendered early gains after Thursday's economic data showed that the U.S. manufacturing sector was losing momentum while technology stocks were taking on significant losses.
Early pressure on the Dow Jones Industrial Average accelerated into a triple-digit loss today after Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker told the Wall Street Journal the robust pace of consumer spending suggests American consumers are in doubt of the Federal Reserve's "resolve" and that an October rate hike is "needed."
The two key manufacturing indices moved independently from their month-ago levels, but both indicated slowing momentum in U.S. factory activity. The final Purchasing Manager's Index for September increased slightly to 53.1, but was barely improved from the 22-month low of 53.0 posted in August.
At the same time, the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index declined from 51.1 in August, and at 50.2 is dangerously close to the contraction threshold of sub-50.
Thursday's other economic data was mixed: initial jobless claims increased 10,000 for the week ended September 26, but continued to run below the decisive 300,000 level. Also, construction spending rose 0.7% in August, beating +0.6% estimates, but July was revised lower to +0.4% from +0.7%.
Euro-zone equities were lower in sympathy with Wall Street, as well as on EU manufacturing data that lowers the necessity for additional stimulus from the European Central Bank. The FTSE-100, however, held onto a modest gain.
Crude oil was up $0.36 to $45.55 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.07 to $2.46 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.90 to $1,116.90 an ounce, while silver was up $0.09 to $14.60 an ounce. Copper was down $0.03 to $2.32 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.14% to $14.66 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 2.07% to $11.37. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.87% to 13.62 while SPDR Gold Shares was up 0.10% to $106.97. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.63% to $13.96.
Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 66.05 (-0.67%) to 9,733.64
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 161.21 (-0.99%) to 16,123.49
S&P 500 down 13.47 (-0.70%) to 1,906.56
Nasdaq Composite Index down 39.66 (-0.86%) to 4,580.51
Nikkei 225 Index up 1.92%
Hang Seng Index up 1.41%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.48%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.18%
CAC 40 down 0.65%
DAX down 1.57%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.27%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.54%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.58%
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