Stocks started December with losses, as the tech-heavy Nasdaq paced losses with a 1.2% drop, while the price of gold and crude oil spiked dramatically higher after falling sharply into the weekend and overnight on Sunday.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,792, -36, (-0.2%)
- S&P 500: 2,054, -13, (-0.6%)
- Nasdaq: 4,729, -62, (-1.3%)
And now, the top stories on Monday:
1. We got two pieces of economic data on the US manufacturing sector on Monday, with the Institute of Supply Management’s November PMI reading coming in at 58.7, topping expectations for a reading of 58.0. This was, however, below October’s 59.0. Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said that report was, “Unbelievable. Literally,” saying that seasonal adjustments continue to skew the index higher than it ought to be. Shepherdson believes the trend warrants a reading of around 55.0. Any reading above 50 represents expansion in the manufacturing sector.
2. Markit economics also released its latest manufacturing PMI came in at 54.8, better than November’s “flash” reading of 54.7, but below expectations for a 55.0. Markit’s release said that, “Business conditions continued to improve across the US manufacturing sector in November, but the pace of recovery eased to its weakest since the start of 2014.”
3. Crude oil prices rallied on Monday, with West Texas Intermediate crude futures rising more than 4% to above $US69 as the commodity continues to pare the losses suffered at the end of last week after OPEC announced it would not curb production. And while Monday’s rally was a bit of relief to some oil investors, in a not to clients on Monday, Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid noted that both WTI and Brent crude oil have been the world’s worst performing assets this year.
4. Gold prices also rallied hard on Monday, gaining more than 3% to climb back above $US1,200 an ounce. Overnight the precious metal took it on the chin, falling to as low as $US1,143 an ounce after voters in Switzerland rejected a measure that would have required the Swiss National Bank to hold 20% of their assets in gold. Currently, the SNB has an 8% gold position.
5. Apple shares had a wild day, with the stock suffering something like a “flash crash” after the market open on Monday, falling as much as 6% before stabilizing down about 3%.
6. Amazon got some bad news from Moody’s rating agency today, as Moody’s took its outlook for the online retailer to “Negative” from “Stable” after Amazon disclosed plans on Monday to issue senior unsecured notes. Moody’s noted that Amazon’s debt will be used for general corporate purposes, and added that, “it is Moody’s expectation that the funds will not be utilized for any form of shareholder returns.” Amazon shares fell more than 3% on Monday.
7. Also in the tech space, ride-sharing service Uber is reportedly raising money from Goldman Sachs’ high-net-worth clients, according to Fortune’s Dan Primack.
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