Real-time Stock quotes, portfolio, LIVE TV and more.
Aug 29, 2012, 08.45 PM IST
US crude oil prices fell on Wednesday as Hurricane Isaac left Gulf Coast oil production largely unscathed, while global stocks were in a tight range as traders looked ahead to a meeting of central bankers on Friday.
US stocks were down slightly in a third straight day of likely low volume as traders awaited Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday to assess the likelihood of further economic stimulus.
Gross domestic product data showed the world's biggest economy grew at a 1.7% annual pace in the second quarter, slightly faster than the 1.5% initially reported. However, the pace of growth remained too slow to rule out further monetary easing from the Fed.
US stocks have been supported recently by expectations the Fed will pump more cash into an economy whose recovery has stalled. Speculation on further easing had been dampened by a pick-up in job growth and a rebound in retail sales in July, but other data on business spending and inflation supported more action.
"Investors are unwilling to do anything big with potentially major news events like the Fed hitting in the next couple of days," said Mike Gibbs, chief market strategist at Morgan Keegan in Memphis, Tennessee.
"Everyone is in a wait-and-see mode. The market is extremely quiet and boring, and volumes are pretty much dead."
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 19.20 points, or 0.15 percent, at 13,083.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.57 points, or 0.18%, at 1,406.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.71 points, or 0.06%, at 3,075.43.
An MSCI gauge of global shares dipped 0.2% as did a European benchmark.
Hurricane Isaac left US Gulf Coast oil production facilities without significant damage and US light crude was down 1% at USD 95.35 per barrel. US crude was further weighed by data showing inventories rose last week against expectations they would be down.
Oil had risen on Tuesday as production dropped by more than 90% as coastal refineries shut down in a precautionary move ahead of the approaching hurricane.
Brent crude futures were flat at USD 112.58.
The euro declined against the U.S. dollar, reversing some of the previous session's gains, though losses were limited by optimism the European Central Bank will act decisively to tackle the debt crisis.
The ECB will meet on September 6 and is seen close to producing a decisive bond-buying plan to curb high Spanish and Italian borrowing costs and ease Europe's three-year-old debt crisis.
ECB chief Mario Draghi said in a newspaper opinion piece on Wednesday the bank needed to employ "exceptional measures," bolstering speculation of imminent action.
But with the risk of disappointment from the Fed and ECB high, investors were adopting a cautious approach.
"Markets are quiet with a slight bias to shed risk," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital in Toronto. "Paralysis ahead of Jackson Hole and extreme event risk in early September are the key themes."
The euro was down 0.3% at USD 1.2527, near last week's high of USD 1.2589, the highest since early July.
Prices on medium- and long-dated US Treasuries slipped after data showed pending US home sales rose to their highest level in more than two years, reinforcing the view the housing recovery is gaining traction.
The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note was down 6/32, with the yield at 1.6574%.
May 24 2013, 16:42
- in Rupee
May 23 2013, 09:33
- in Technicals