Greece debt problems hit stocks


Published: Friday 26th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Stocks have enjoyed a mixed day as investors waited for negotiators to finish their work on a solution to Greece’s debt problems.

Chinese stocks plunged 7% as fears spread that a year-long bull rally there has become overheated. China’s benchmark index is still up more than double over the past year.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 56.66 points, or 0.3%, to 17,947.02. It was largely lifted by Nike, which rose more than 4% after posting strong quarterly results.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.83 of a point, or 0.04%, to 2,101.48 and the Nasdaq composite lost 31.68 points, or 0.6%, to 5,080.51. All three indexes ended the week slightly lower.

As they have done all week, global investors are watching closely as Greek debt talks go down to the wire. Yesterday a key meeting of eurozone finance ministers broke up without an agreement. The 19 ministers are due to meet again tomorrow.

Greece needs a deal in order to make a debt payment of 1.6 billion euros (1.8 billion dollars) to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday. Failing to do so would put the country on a path toward default and a possible exit from the euro.

Investors now turn to next week, when the US government will release the June jobs report. Economists forecast that US employers created 237,500 jobs last month, according to FactSet.

There’s been a lot of focus on when the Federal Reserve will raise its key interest rate. Recent economic data seems to show that the US economic recovery is holding steady, and now many investors are expecting the Fed to raise rates in September.

While Greece has been the main driver in financial markets recent weeks, worries over China have risen the list of concerns. Today, Chinese stocks plunged more than 7%. The Shanghai composite closed at 4,391.91. It reached 5,300 just two weeks ago.

In energy trading, the price of oil was nearly flat Friday. It finished the week little changed, and remained in a narrow range for the ninth straight week. Benchmark US crude fell 7 cents to close at 59.63 dollars a barrel in New York.

Oil finished last week at 59.61 dollars and it has traded roughly between 57 dollars and 61 dollars since late April. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many US refineries, rose 6 cents to close at 63.26 dollars a barrel in London.

In other futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, wholesale gasoline rose 1.2 cents to close at 2.049 dollars a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.1 cents to close at 1.863 dollars a gallon and natural gas fell 7.7 cents to close at 2.773 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 1.40 dollars to 1,173.20 dollars an ounce. Silver fell 7 cents to 15.73 dollars an ounce and copper rose 2 cents to 2.64 dollars a pound.

US government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.48% from 2.39%.

In currency trading, the euro fell to 1.1161 dollars while the dollar rose to 123.85 Japanese yen.

Published: Friday 26th June 2015 by The News Editor

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