Overseas markets trended lower after long weekend
In the first day of trading after the long weekend US and UK markets trended downwards with the Dow coming off 0.2% to close at 21,029 points after slumping to a low of 21,009 points just after the open.
The NASDAQ only fell slightly to 6203 points amid solid performances from stocks in the tech sector.
European markets were unsettled by ructions surrounding the election in Italy, as well as renewed volatility in Greece.
However, there weren’t any sector specific moves of note, and the slight pullback could be attributed to profit-taking particularly after the recent strong run which saw the FTSE 100 hit record highs last week.
The index closed 0.3% lower at 7526 points, still up circa 300 points or 4% in the last month.
It was a similar story in mainland Europe as major indices, the DAX (-0.2%) and the Paris CAC 40 (-0.5%) continued to pull back from recent highs.
The DAX closed at 12,598 points and the Paris CAC 40 retraced to 5305 points. Of the three indices, the Paris CAC 40 has lost the most ground in the last few weeks, and is trading in line with its one month low.
However, to put this in perspective the index rallied hard leading up to the French presidential election, increasing from approximately 5000 points to more than 5400 points, so in effect it has held on to circa 75% of those gains.
On the commodities front, oil came off slightly to close at US$49.65 per barrel after briefly touching US$50 per barrel in the previous session.
Gold briefly pushed above US$1270 per ounce in early trading, a crucial move given technical analysts see further upside should the precious metal close above that mark. However, that didn’t eventuate as it closed at US$1265 per ounce.
Iron ore was relatively unmoved at US$58.50 per tonne.
There were only minor movements in base metal prices with trading fairly subdued as May draws to a close.
However, it is worth looking at monthly moves. At US$2.55 per pound, copper is off approximately 1% for the month.
Nickel has slumped from US$4.26 per pound at the start of the month to US$4.10 per pound.
After suffering a sharp mid-month dip, zinc has recovered most of the lost ground and is trading in line with where it started the month at US$1.18 per pound.
Lead has been the hardest hit, falling from US$1.03 per pound to an intra-month low of US$0.93 per pound. The slight recovery to US$0.95 per pound still implies a fall of nearly 8% for the month.
The Australian dollar strengthened slightly and is currently fetching US$0.746.
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