Global instability drives markets lower
While most global markets closed lower on Friday, the falls were not significant particularly relative to the volatility and uncertainty that prevails in a number of regions.
The outcome of the French elections remains very much in the balance, and terror attacks in that region have also had a destabilising impact.
Military tensions have escalated between North Korea and the Western world, and not surprisingly the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) continues to hover in the vicinity of 15, up from a range between 11 and 12 for most of March.
The Dow fell 30 points or 0.15% to close at 20,547 points. The NASDAQ closed 0.1% lower at 5910 points.
Arguably, these declines could have been worse as the Dow hit a low of circa 20,500 points early in the session, but gained a boost from commentary from President Trump regarding tax reform.
In the UK the FTSE 100 was relatively unmoved on 7114 points. The DAX gained 0.2% to close at 12,048 points.
The Paris CAC 40 slumped to 0.4% to 5059 points, but the main focus will be on the response to the first round of elections which occurred over the weekend.
On the commodities front, gold seems to have found a level of support in the vicinity of US$1280 per ounce, and closed the week out at US$1286 per ounce.
Oil shed another 2% to slip below US$50 per barrel with some analysts indicating there is more downside to come as crude production increases.
Base metals mainly traded lower, although declines were relatively moderate. Copper was flat at circa US$2.53 per pound, and Nickel came off more than 1% to close at US$4.22 per pound.
Zinc closed off the week at US$1.16 per pound after falling 1.5% on Friday following some strong mid-week gains. Iron ore finally found some positive momentum to close at US$68.22 per tonne.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is fetching US$0.754.
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