New York, May 31, 2016 (AFP) –
US and European stocks pulled back Tuesday ahead of a heavy week of economic news, including the US May jobs report and the European Central Bank meeting.
Coming back after market holidays Monday in New York and London, almost all major indices, except the Nasdaq, ended May on a low note.
Despite a dip in consumer confidence, the day’s batch of data was mostly encouraging about the state of the economy, from rising home prices to a sharp jump last month in consumer spending, the main driver of growth.
The Fed has signaled a rate hike could be possible at its June 14-15 meeting, though markets are betting the central bank will
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 percent. The broad-market S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3 percent.
“With a pretty heavy plate of economic figures coming, capped off by the job numbers on Friday, traders are playing a little defense today,” said Michael James of Wedbush Securities. He said investors generally were looking to take profits following last week’s solid gains.
The Dow ended the month relatively flat, up 0.1 percent from the end of April. The Nasdaq led with a 3.6 percent month-over-month gain, and the S&P 500 advanced 1.5 percent.
European stocks fell, shrugging off an earlier rebound in Asia, as concern about major upcoming data eroded investor sentiment.
London’s main index shed 0.6 percent, Frankfurt fell 0.7 percent and Paris dropped 0.5 percent.
– ‘Wall of worry’ –
“It’s been a lackluster end to a choppy month for European markets,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets. All three main European indices posted small gains for May.
It’s still been a wall of worry with concerns about weak manufacturing data from China, Japan, the UK and the US, weighing on sentiment, though recovering commodity prices and improving consumer spending patterns” counterbalanced that somewhat, he added.
Analyst Sylvain Loganadin at DailyFX said traders were being prudent because it was the final trading day of the month.
Loganadin said there was increasing risk aversion ahead of important meetings in the coming weeks of OPEC , the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve, as well as the June 23 referendum in Britain on leaving the European Union.
Asian stocks rose, led by a surge in Shanghai. Mainland Chinese shares leaped by more than three percent and Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul also rallied.
– Key figures around 2100 GMT –
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 17,787.13 (close)
New York: S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,096.95 (close)
New York: Nasdaq: UP 0.3 percent at 4,948.05 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 6,230.79 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 percent at 10,262.74 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,505.62 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.9 percent at 3,063.48 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.98 percent at 17,234.98 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 3.34 percent at 2,885.542 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.9 percent at 20,815.09 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1131 from $1.1139 on Monday
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.73 yen from 111.14 yen