STOCKS FLAT, BUT GOLD SURGES: Here’s What You Need To Know

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Stocks ended the day roughly flat, but gold surged on the belief the economy was slowing and the Fed would take action.First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow down 0.05%
  • NASDAQ up 0.07%
  • S&P 500 down 0.02%

Now, the headlines:

  • Overnight in Asia, Chinese markets were closed, and the Nikkei was down over 1% on concerns over the fate the Fukushima facilities. Water polluted with radioactivity continues to flow into the ocean there.
  • The Middle East was mostly quiet today, with some rumours Qaddafi’s sons were trying to broker a peace deal. Rebel forces were meant to begin their export of oil today.
  • Portugal was yet again downgraded today, and its CDS spiked on the news its banks would no longer buy its sovereign debt. The eurozone continues to brace for an ECB rate hike on Thursday.
  • U.S. markets were driven by Bernanke’s comments from last night, which suggested he was confident this current spike in inflation wasn’t going to last. Shares opened lower.
  • A weak ISM number at 10:00 AM, which signaled a slowdown in the services sector, sent gold on a rally that would see it close above $1450.
  • FOMC minutes revealed little we didn’t already know about discussions with the Fed, but did suggest there were serious concerns over inflation in the near-term within the group.
  • The Congress and President continued to fight over the budget, with a government shutdown looming. Rep. Paul Ryan released his cut heavy budget proposal >
  • The other big story today was the re-balancing of the Nasdaq, which saw shares of Apple make up a smaller portion of the new index. Apple traded down around 0.8% on the day.
  • Don’t miss: Why Citi believes it is too soon for the Fed to start tightening US monetary policy >