Stocks and gold have taken a sharp turn downward.
Right now, the S&P 500 is trading around 1676, down 0.8%. Gold is trading at $1315 an ounce, down 1.1%.
The only economic data release in the United States this morning was consumer confidence, which unexpectedly soared to a six-year high in July. It’s unclear what is driving the current move.
Stocks have been drifting lower for most of the morning, though, after the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 3.0% Friday, turning in its worst daily performance in a month.
A monthly data release on consumer prices showed Japan’s headline inflation rate rose to 0.3% in June from -0.2% the month before, suggesting that Japan had achieved inflation for the first time in over a year. However, stripping out food and energy, the economy remained in deflation. This measure of prices was still down 0.2% year over year, indicating that higher energy prices were the main driver of headline inflation in June.
New fund flow data showed record inflows into high yield debt and junk bond funds this week. U.S. equity-oriented funds expanded assets under management by $4.3 billion.
And this morning, JPMorgan’s chief U.S. equity strategist Tom Lee hiked his year-end price target for the S&P 500 to 1775 from 1715, making him the most bullish equity strategist on Wall Street. His forecast implies an additional 5% upside for the index for the rest of the year and is largely driven by an improving economic picture in Europe.
The chart below shows S&P 500 futures.
The next chart shows gold futures.
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