Tensions rising in North Korea and a bad ADP jobs report were bad news for the markets.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 14,577, -84.1 pts, -0.6 per cent
S&P 500: 1,555, -14.0 pts, -0.9 per cent
NASDAQ: 3,222, -33.0 pts, -1.0 per cent
And now the top stories:
- Tensions are heating up in North Korea, the isolated rogue nation that continues to threaten South Korea and the U.S. “North Korea rhetoric presents real, clear danger, threat to US, allies,” said defence Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier today. The Pentagon said that it would be deploying anti-missile systems to Guam in response to the threats.
- In today’s sell-off, defence contractors managed to rally. The rationale for the sector’s outperformance is pretty intuitive. Stocks like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman all surged today.
- However, Stifel Nicolaus’ Dave Lutz pointed out an interesting discrepancy. The South Korea ETF (EWY) and the country’s credit-default swaps didn’t break down today. Lutz argued that this means the sell-off was about more than North Korea.
- Perhaps the sell-off was due to the disappointing ADP jobs report, which showed U.S. companies only created 158k jobs instead of the 200k expected. Or perhaps it was the disappointing ISM services report. After all, the U.S. is a services-based economy.
- Gold prices fell for no obvious reason. In his commentary today, Lutz pointed to the massive outflows from gold ETFs. This was a point that the analysts at Societe Generale made when they declared “The End Of The Gold Era.”
- Oil prices also tumbled. According to a new supply report from the Department of Energy, inventories jumped by 2.7 million barrels, which was way above analysts’ estimates.
- Meanwhile, the price of controversial digital currency Bitcoin ripped higher. And then it plunged.
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