US stocks slumped today, posting there biggest slide in nearly a month, as weak eurozone economic data, the continued crisis in Cyprus and disappointing quarterly earnings of Oracle Corp. eclipsed better-than-estimated American economic data.
Early Thursday, the European Central Bank said it may cut off emergency funding to Cypriot banks if it fails to reach a bailout deal with international lenders by Monday as the island nation’s president Nicos Anastasiades struggled to forge agreement on a deal to stave off financial meltdown.
Speaking to the European parliament on Thursday, president of euro-zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said the original proposal offered to Cyprus wasn’t dead yet and it’s difficult for the country to find alternatives; and so the saga continues.
On a downbeat note, Germany’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell unexpectedly this month while a gauge of euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted more than forecast.
In the US, sales of existing homes climbed to the highest level in more than three years in February. Purchases rose 0.8 percent to a 4.98 million annualized rate, data released by the National Association of Realtors showed.
Separately, jobless claims rose by 2,000 to 336,000 in the week ended march 16 while the Philly Fed’s manufacturing index rose to 2 in march from minus 12.5 the prior month. Readings below zero signal contraction in the area covering Delaware, southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The Conference Board’s leading economic index grew 0.5 percent in February to mark the second straight month of gains.
Separately, a Freddie Mac report showed mortgage rates dropped ahead of the Spring home-buying season.
In the end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) tripped 90 points with 25 of its 30 components closing lower. Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and IBM were among the day’s biggest laggards.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) slipped 13 points with materials and technology sliding the most among its 10 business groups.
Treasury prices rose Thursday, with the 10-year notes poised for a second weekly gain as concern over Europe’s debt crisis spurred demand for safer US government debt.
Meanwhile, the euro weakened, dropping to a four month low against the US dollar as economic data indicated a deepening downturn in the euro zone.
Across the Atlantic, a surprisingly weak German manufacturing and the continued deadlock in Cyprus pushed European bourses to a two-week low Thursday.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index shed 0.7 percent but still up 5.3 percent this year.
National benchmark indexes dropped in all he 18 western-European markets after Germany’s manufacturing contracted unexpectedly in March. German manufacturing PMI fell to a three-month low of 48.9, indicating activity in the sector has contracted.
Germany’s DAX 30 index trimmed 0.9 percent in Frankfurt.
Our Trend Tracking Indexes pulled back as well, but they remain clearly on the bullish side of their respective trend lines with the Domestic TTI sporting a solid +3.29% while the International TTI slipped to +8.77%.Contact Ulli