Global markets remain on edge as Dow plunges more than 100 points

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Apr 20, 2017, in Features

While there were some mixed messages coming from overseas markets, the mood was generally negative, exacerbated by a 3.5% decline in the oil price and a circa 5% decline in index heavyweight IBM after it delivered below expectations quarterly sales.

The Dow fell nearly 0.6% to close at 20,404 points. Interestingly, the tech heavy NASDAQ index defied the trend to gained 0.2% as it closed at 5863 points. Biotechs played a significant hand in driving the index higher.

The FTSE 100 continued its decline, shedding another 33 points or 0.5% to close at 7114 points. It is now trading broadly in line with where it was at the start of 2017 with all of the bullish sentiment that saw it top the 7400 point mark turned on its head in the space of two sessions.

Elsewhere in Europe, the DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up 0.1% and 0.3% respectively, closing at 12,016 points and 5003 points.

On the commodities front, it was oil in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons as inventory data came in higher than expected. The closing price of US$50.58 per barrel is close to levels it traded at in early April, prior to the spike which saw it breeze past the US$53 per barrel mark.

There was little movement in the gold price as it closed at US$1281 per ounce.

Base metals generally moved in a positive direction after the previous day’s sharp sell-off. Lead was the biggest casualty as base metals plunged, and it posted the best rebound overnight, gaining 3%.

The Australian dollar weakened slightly and is now fetching US$0.75.

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