European equity markets plunged in today’s trading session, tracking sharp losses in the US markets as investors remained cautious ahead of any decisions coming out from the US Federal Reserve meeting. The CAC, DAX, IBEX indices retreated sharply between 0.70% and 1.55%, while the London equity benchmark index bucked the downtrend and edged higher towards 6,850.
DAX retreats sharply towards 11,950
In the US, the Dow Jones sunk over 180 points (-0.96%), while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ posted renewed losses after falling between 0.3% and 0.7%. The USD index slid lower within the recent range, hovering around 99.60 against a basket of currencies amid renewed concerns regarding a sooner than expected US interest rate rise. US housing starts declined sharply -17% to 897K in February from 1065K in January, missing analysts’ expectations of a much smaller 2.4% drop. However, building permits rose 3.0 in February beating analysts’ estimates of a 0.5% rise.
In Eurozone, unemployment fell slightly to 0.1% in Q4 2014 compared to 0.2% in Q3 2014. The ZEW economic survey showed current situation in Germany improved to 55.1 in March compared to 45.5 in February, while expectations rose to 54.8 in March from 53.0 in January. In addition, the euro recovered slightly and tested 1.06 against the US dollar.
Precious metal prices remained under pressure extending losses in today’s session. Gold posted fresh losses and plunged over 0.35% towards $1150/ounce, while silver fell towards $15.60. Platinum and palladium prices remained in negative territory.