Gold holds near 2-1/2 month low as equities rallyREUTERS, Thu Apr 24, 2014 07:45 WIB - Gold was little changed on Thursday, hovering near the weakest in more than two months,...
Gold was quoted at $1,283.65 an ounce by 0023 GMT. It dropped to a low of $1,277.10 on Tuesday - its weakest since Feb. 11 -- due to outflows from physical gold funds.
U.S. gold was also little changed at $1,283.70 an ounce.
Investment demand remains weak with the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, seeing sharp outflows in recent days. Last week alone, the fund's outflows totalled 9.3 tonnes, erasing all the gains made in the year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of being behind the political upheaval in Ukraine and said Moscow would respond if its interests came under attack.
Asian markets could get a lift on Thursday after tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook beat Wall Street expectations, sending their stock up sharply and boosting Nasdaq futures.
The New Zealand dollar rallied on Thursday after the country's central bank lifted interest rates and signalled more hikes ahead, while caution ahead of a speech by the European Central Bank kept the euro subdued.
0645 France Business climate April
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Kiwi flies on hawkish RBNZ, euro eyes ECB speechREUTERS, Thu Apr 24, 2014 06:55 WIB - The New Zealand dollar rallied on Thursday after the country's central bank lifted...
The kiwi climbed more than a third of a U.S. cent to a high of $0.8626 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) said it would continue to tighten to stay on top of inflationary pressures. As expected, it hiked its cash rate to 3.0 percent from 2.75 percent.
Some in the market had thought it might signal a slowing in the pace of further rate hikes given a stubbornly strong currency and still moderate inflation.
The kiwi though steadied at $0.8611, with analysts saying further gains might be limited.
"We believe further NZD appreciation is likely to be capped within a cent of current rates as the tightening cycle is fairly priced," said Annette Beacher, head of Asia Pacific research at TDSecurities in Singapore.
The kiwi also rose against the yen, euro and its Australian counterpart, which suffered heavy losses on Wednesday in the wake of unexpectedly soft inflation data.
Both Antipodean currencies were among some of the biggest movers this week, in contrast to the G3 currencies which stayed in all-too familiar territory.
The U.S. dollar index .DXY last traded at 79.845 after ending little changed on Wednesday. It had dipped to a near one-week low of 79.698 but recovered almost all of its losses to be nearly flat on the week.
The euro was stuck at $1.3820 after pulling back from a near one-week high of $1.3855, leaving it just a shade firmer on the week.
Traders said the common currency could struggle ahead of a speech by ECB President Mario Draghi, although they conceded that it would be hard for him to sound any more dovish.
His speech comes a day after a survey showed the euro zone private sector started the second quarter on its strongest footing since 2011.
Also, Draghi has already said the bank will ease policy further if the euro keeps strengthening, although he has been vague on the timing.
Against the yen, both the dollar and euro have been confined in slim ranges this week. The greenback was last at 102.48, having drifted either side of 102.50. The euro fetched 141.61 yen and appeared reluctant to stray too far from 141.70.
There is little in the way of major economic news out of Asia on Thursday.
On Friday, inflation data out of Japan will be closely watched. Core consumer prices in Tokyo are expected to have risen by the most in 22 years in April, driven by an increase in the country's sales tax.
Tech sector brightens as Apple jumps 8 percentREUTERS, Thu Apr 24, 2014 06:53 WIB - Asian markets could get a lift on Thursday after tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook...
The results came out after the close on Wednesday so could not stop the major U.S. indices from ending in the red, but futures pointed to a bounce on Thursday. The Nasdaq futures were up 1 percent and the S&P 500 0.3 percent.
Sentiment on the tech sector brightened after Apple decided to buy back $30 billion of its shares out to the end of 2015 and authorized a seven-for-one stock split. Its shares jumped almost 8 percent to $566.50 in after-hours trade.
Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing forecasts. That drove a 4.6 percent rise in revenue to $45.6 billion, a record for any non-holiday quarter.
The iPhone maker's strong performance could have a positive knock-on effect across some of Asia's big tech players in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Facebook Inc shares also boasted a 3.7 percent jump after hours as the Internet social networking company topped Wall Street's financial targets.
The Nasdaq had ended Wednesday 0.83 percent lower, while the Dow eased 0.08 percent and the S&P 500 lost 0.22 percent.
Boeing Co shares were up 2.4 percent after its first-quarter revenue beat expectations, while lifting its core earnings forecast to reflect a tax settlement gain.
The main mover in currencies was the New Zealand dollar which hopped higher after the country's central bank raised interest rates by a quarter point to 3 percent and signaled there was more tightening to come.
The kiwi dollar gained around a third of a cent to a high of $0.8621 after the announcement.
Yet that was the only excitement in a market that has been trading within frustratingly tight ranges recently. The U.S. dollar had barely budged on the yen at 102.49, having yo-yoed in a 101.50 to 104.50 band for almost three months now.
Likewise, the euro was little changed at $1.3817 after failing to sustain even the smallest of rallies overnight. It briefly popped up to $1.3854 following better news on euro zone manufacturing, but quickly ran out of steam.
The latest performance of manufacturing indices (PMI) showed euro zone businesses enjoyed the best month in nearly three years, led by a jump in Germany.
The "flash" PMI for the United States dipped a tick to 55.4 in April, missing forecasts of 56.0 but still pointing to solid growth in the sector.
However, there was worrying news on U.S. housing as new home sales dived 14.5 percent in March on top of a 4.5 drop in February. The annualized sales pace of 384,000 was the second slowest since late 2012, a blow to what has been a major driver of the U.S. economic recovery.
In commodity markets, oil prices dipped on Wednesday after U.S. crude inventories hit a record high, though the continuing crisis in Ukraine kept a floor under the market.
Brent crude for June delivery lost 16 cents to $109.11 a barrel. U.S. crude had pared some losses early Thursday to be up 9 cents at $101.53 a barrel.
Gold was holding steady around $1,284.50 an ounce but remained uncomfortably close to major chart support at $1,275.
Wall Street snaps six-day run; Apple to split stockREUTERS, Thu Apr 24, 2014 04:47 WIB - U.S. stocks dipped on Wednesday to snap a six-session winning streak as gains in Boeing...
AT&T Inc (T.N) fell 3.8 percent to $34.92 a day after the Dow component reported earnings that beat expectations, offset by weak service revenue growth. Verizon Communications (VZ.N) shed 1 percent to $47.43 while the S&P telecom sector index .SPLRCL dropped 2.2 percent, easily making it the session's worst-performing sector.
Biotech shares pulled the Nasdaq lower. Amgen Inc (AMGN.O) slid 5 percent to $113.32, a day after earnings missed forecasts. The Nasdaq biotech index .NBI fell 1.5 percent and NYSEArca biotech index .BTK lost 1.6 percent.
"You've got some big numbers coming out from companies that have already been pretty volatile in the Nasdaq, and there is some caution against the potential for shortfalls that could restart Nasdaq on the way down," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"This is traditionally not going to be a particularly strong time for earnings reports, and it's easy to take less inspiring numbers and say this market is overvalued or pass them by and say this is a seasonally low point. So it really is more about investors' own view of how high a multiple they are willing to pay."
There were bright spots within biotech. Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) rose 1.4 percent to $73.86 and Illumina Inc (ILMN.O) gained 3.9 percent to $153.69 after the companies posted results late Tuesday.
Boeing Co (BA.N) reported first-quarter revenue that beat expectations and lifted its core earnings forecast to reflect a tax settlement gain, sending its stock up 2.4 percent to $130.63 and giving the biggest boost to the Dow.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 12.72 points or 0.08 percent, to end at 16,501.65. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 4.16 points or 0.22 percent, to 1,875.39. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 34.491 points or 0.83 percent, to 4,126.967.
After the closing bell, Apple Inc jumped 7.3 percent to $563 after the iPhone maker reported quarterly results, approved a seven-for-one stock split and expanded its share-buyback authorization by $30 billion.
In another big move after the close, Facebook Inc (FB.O) gained 4.8 percent to $64.30. Its mobile advertising business continued to accelerate in the first three months of the year, helping the social networking company top Wall Street's revenue target.
Better-than-expected earnings have buoyed Wall Street lately, though companies have largely been beating reduced forecasts. Profits are seen rising 1.6 percent this quarter, down from the 6.5 percent growth rate estimated at the start of the year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Of the 141 companies in the S&P 500 that had posted results through Wednesday morning, 65.2 percent have topped expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent. On the revenue side, 53.6 percent have exceeded forecasts, below the 61 percent long-term average.
Procter & Gamble Co's (PG.N) earnings topped forecasts but sales were flat. The stock slipped 0.3 percent to $80.36.
New home sales tumbled more than expected to an eight-month low in March. The PHLX housing sector index .HGX fell 1.1 percent, with D.R. Horton Inc (DHI.N) off 2.2 percent at $21.35.
Volume was light, with about 5.67 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, well below the 6.65 billion average so far this month, according to BATS Global Markets.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,566 to 1,482, while on the Nasdaq, decliners beat advancers by 1,775 to 819.
Gold up slightly, holding above key support after U.S. dataREUTERS, Thu Apr 24, 2014 03:01 WIB - Gold prices edged up on Wednesday, holding above a technical stronghold at $1,275 an...
The bullion market found some support after Commerce Department data showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest in eight months in March, pointing to a setback to the housing market recovery.
The yellow metal, sometimes seen as a safe haven, largely ignored news Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of being behind the political upheaval in Ukraine, saying Moscow would respond if its interests came under attack.
"The world is not taking huge strives for sanctions, and the conflict itself is not spilling over anywhere. That hasn't been enough of a news factor to provide support to gold prices," said Robert Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management's Private Client Reserve.
Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,284.50 an ounce by 3:16 p.m. EDT (1916 GMT).
U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up $3.50 an ounce at $1,284.60, with trading volume about 30 percent below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
Gold traded in a less than $10 range, holding above its 100-day moving average of $1,277 an ounce, after the previous session's fall to a 2-1/2-month low near that level.
"We continue to watch gold between the $1,275 and $1,280 level where key support is still apparent. If taken out, we could see rather heavy stop-loss selling set in," said Edward Meir, metals analyst at INTL FCStone.
Physical demand in Asia, which tends to provide some support at lower price levels, failed to emerge after Tuesday's drop as buyers expect more price declines, dealers said.
Demand has been quiet in top buyer China as a weaker yuan made it more expensive to buy dollar-denominated gold. China's yuan hit a 16-month low against the dollar on Wednesday.
Investment demand also remained weak with the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, seeing sharp outflows in recent days. Last week alone, the fund's outflows totalled 9.3 tonnes, erasing all the gains made in the year.
Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.3 percent at $19.41 an ounce, while platinum rose 0.5 percent to $1,399.75 an ounce and palladium was up 0.4 percent at $783 an ounce.
Platinum group metals investors were digesting news that long talks aimed at ending a crippling three-month strike in South Africa's platinum sector will resume on Thursday, after the world's top producers and union AMCU spent two days haggling over an offer tabled last week by the companies.