Wall Street has surrendered its early gains, with the post-FOMC rally extinguished by another supply-related sell-off for energy stocks. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down more than 2% in recent commodities trade, again dragging shares of energy companies sharply lower, followed by heavy losses for materials and consumer stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was posting a triple-digit loss led by losses for component company Caterpillar ( CAT ) along with declines for financial stocks after their big run-up yesterday afternoon.
After the Federal Reserve showed its hand Wednesday with a 25 basis point increase in U.S. interest rates, also offering up a cautious approach toward future increases, today's economic data was largely ignored by investors despite a sizable miss for the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey. Analysts were expecting a slight decline in the index to a 1.2 December reading from 1.9 during November, but the index instead plummeted to a negative 5.9 reading, the third time in four months that the index fallen into negative territory.
The economic data Thursday was mixed: initial jobless claims fell 11,000 to 271,000; the current account deficit swelled to $124.1 billion during Q3 from $111.1 billion in the prior quarter; and leading economic indicators edged 0.4% higher in November, beating expectations for a 0.2% rise.
European equities held onto most of their overnight gains, catching the tail-end of Wednesday's U.S. rally to close higher today. Germany's DAX soared 2.5% on gains for health care and financial stocks, while European bond yields fell 3 to 9 basis points.
Crude oil was down 74 cents to $34.87 per barrel. Natural gas was up 5 cents to $2.00 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $24.50 to $1,052.20 per ounce, while silver was down 53 cents to $13.72 per ounce. Copper was down 3 cents to $2.04 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.91% to $10.79 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.70% to $7.11. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 5.36% to 13.41 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 1.90% to $100.80. The iShares Silver Trust was down 2.89% to $13.10.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 116.48 (-1.13%) to 10,151.35
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 175.68 (-0.99%) to 17,573.41
S&P 500 down 23.07 (-1.11%) to 2,050.00
Nasdaq Composite Index down 45.86 (-0.90%) to 5,025.27
Nikkei 225 Index up 1.59%
Hang Seng Index up 0.79%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.81%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.68%
CAC 40 up 1.14%
DAX up 2.57%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 2.34%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 1.08%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.71%
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