US trading mixed ahead of new consumer data: Morning market insights

Wall Street

The New York Stock Exchange was mixed overnight as traders held fire before the release of new data tomorrow on US consumer confidence and spending.

In a lecture at George Washington University, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said financial stability was no longer a ‘junior partner’ to monetary policy.

“The crisis underscored that maintaining financial stability is an equally critical responsibility,” Bernanke said, according to Bloomberg.

“As much as possible, central banks and other regulators should try to anticipate and defuse threats to financial stability and mitigate the effects when a crisis occurs.”

The S&P500 Index was down 0.16% or 2.26 points to 1403.28.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.15% to 13145.80.

The NASDAQ Index finished down 0.31% or 9.60 points to 3095.36.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price was down 2.01% to $US103.29 a barrel overnight.

Gold was up 0.16% to be trading at $US1663.10 an ounce.

The Australian dollar was unchanged overnight, buying $US1.0381 at 8.30am AEST.

Europe

European sharemarkets were down for a third consecutive day as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) dropped 1.3% to 260.74 at the closing bell – the biggest decline since March 6. Regardless, the index has climbed 6.6% in 2012.

“After the strong gains through the first quarter, it’s very reasonable that trading is soft as investors consider their positions in the wake of some soft data recently,” Michael Droescher Joergensen, an equity strategist at Nykredit Bank in Copenhagen, told Bloomberg.

The London FTSE 100 closed down 1.15% 5742.03.

The German DAX also finished lower overnight at 1.77%, or 123.65 points, down to 6875.15.

Moritz Kraemer, head of sovereign ratings at Standard & Poor’s, told the London School of Economics yesterday that another restructure of outstanding debt may be needed in the future.

In Frankfurt, Germany’s Deutsche bank (DBK: GR) was down 2.91% to 1.105 euros. It is down 9.22% for the last twelve months.

In the City of London power generation giant International Power (IPR: LN) gained 5.63% after Paris-based GDF Suez SA (GSZ), Europe’s biggest utility, offered 6 billion pounds ($AU9.2 billion) for the 30% of shares in International Power it doesn’t already own.

The non-binding offer represents a premium of 1.7% to International Power’s closing price yesterday. The new power giant now has a capacity to generate more than 70,000 megawatts in 30 countries, according to Bloomberg.

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