Nikkei plunge versus good U.S. economic data puts markets in a tug of war.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 15,300.49, -6.68, (-0.04%)
- S&P 500: 1,651.29, -4.06, (-0.25%)
- Nasdaq: 3,460.14, -3.16, (-0.09%)
And now, the top stories:
- The 7.3% plunge in the Japanese Nikkei 225 stock index overnight really set the tone for global markets this morning. European PMI data were slightly better than expected, but still pointed to a deep recession in the eurozone. Of course, this comes as no surprise, but it certainly didn’t do anything to help counter the effects of the Japan sell-off.
- Initial jobless claims, out at 8:30 AM ET this morning, fell to 340,000 in the week ended May 18 after spiking to 360,000 the week before. The data release beat economists’ predictions for a smaller drop in initial claims to 345,000.
- Right at the opening bell at 9:30 AM, shares of American Electric Power and Nextera Energy – two major electricity utilities, experienced a flash crash, each plunging more than 50% over the course of just two seconds.
- U.S. flash PMI (out at 8:58 AM) and the FHFA house price index (out at 9) both beat economists’ consensus estimates as well. However, it wasn’t until the release of April home sales data at 10 AM – which also beat estimates – that the market started heading higher.
- An unexpected rise into positive territory for the Kansas City Fed’s monthly manufacturing conditions index at 11 AM coincided with the beginning of another up-move in U.S. stocks.