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Market Overview:  Markets retreat on weak economic reports

US stocks closed lower for a second day on Wednesday as a weak profit forecast by Wal-Mart Stores and downbeat economic reports spurred investor concerns about deteriorating economic outlook. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report on regional economic conditions showed the economy grew modestly with six of the 12 Fed districts calling the expansion “modest,” while three reported “moderate” growth. The dollar weakened with the ICE US dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six major currencies , falling 0.5%. S&P 500 index lost 0.5%. Dow Jones Industrial Average live chart data indicate the blue chip index fell 0.9%, dragged down by Boeing and Wal-Mart which sank 4% and 10% respectively. Wal-Mart suffered the biggest drop in 27 years which erased nearly $22 billion off the retailer’s market value after it forecast up to 12% drop in earnings per share next year. JPMorgan slid 2.5% after the bank reported disappointing third-quarter results. Economic data indicated retail sales in September rose 0.1% instead of expected 0.2% while the reading for August was revised lower to show no change. Producer wholesale prices fell 0.5% in September against 0.2% expected decline. Weaker than expected economic reports suggest that inflation is not going to pick up soon and the Federal Reserve will likely not raise rates soon. According to CME Group’s FedWatch tool federal funds futures traders are now pricing in a 35% chance the central bank will raise rates this year. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and UnitedHealth Group are due to report quarterly results today. Today at 13:30 CET September Consumer Price Index will be released in US. The tentative outlook is negative. At the same time initial jobless claims and unemployment claims will be released. And at 15:00 CET Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index for September will be published. The tentative outlook is negative. At 15:30 CET Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley participates in a panel discussion titled “The Fed at Crossroads: Where to go Next?” in Washington DC. And at 21:30 CET Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester speaks on economic growth prospects in New York.

European stocks finished lower for the third consecutive day on disappointing US earnings and weak Chinese economic data. Euro gained about 0.8% against the dollar. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.7%. Market sentiment was not helped by economic data showing industrial output in euro-zone fell 0.5% in August, in line with expectations. No important economic data are expected today in euro-zone.

Nikkei rose 1.2% today as market sentiment was bolstered by expectations the Federal Reserve will delay interest rate hike after weak economic data indicated slowing in the economy. Investors bought defensive shares such as pharmaceuticals.

Oil prices are edging lower today after closing marginally lower on Wednesday ahead of US weekly inventory data. Today at 16:00 CET Crude Oil Inventories will be released by US Energy Information Administration. It is expected to show an increase in domestic crude oil supplies. Market participants are also waiting to see whether US domestic production continues to grow, which will be bearish for oil.

Gold futures prices are rising today after recording highest close since June 22 on Wednesday on back of weaker dollar as investors bet the Fed would continue to delay an interest-rate hike.

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