Global equity markets experienced a heavy sell-off during the last trading session of the week as fairly tepid economic data and renewed concerns regarding Greece’s debt issues continue to dominate the markets, weighing heavily on market sentiment.
In the US, the Dow Jones index extended sharp losses and retreated over 270 points (-1.3%) towards 17,800 while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ declined over 1% in early trade today. The USD rebounded strongly against the euro while the USD index recovered towards 98.00 against a basket of currencies. The University of Michigan survey showed economic sentiment at 95.9 in April beating analysts’ expectations of 94.0, while current market conditions were reported at 108.2 and expectations jumped to 88.0 compared to 85.3 in March. US CPI remained flat at 0.2% m/m in March, missing estimates of 0.3%.
In the UK, ILO unemployment fell slightly to 5.6% in February from 5.7% in January, while average weekly earnings rose 1.7%. The London equity index dropped nearly 1% below 7,000 tracking sharp losses across the European equity markets. The CAC, DAX, IBEX and the Italian equity benchmark indices declined sharply between 1.3% and 2.4% amid ongoing concerns regarding a possible Grexit in the coming months if Greece fails to meet its requirements and payments.
Precious metals rebounded and climbed higher as risk appetite was limited in global equities with gold acting again as safe-haven after trading above $1200/ounce.