Nasdaq Composite Posts Third Daily Fall In A Row

Published on
  • Weaker than expected US services and jobs data
  • NASDAQ composite posts third daily fall in a row
  • Asia Pacific markets follow suit
  • FTSE 100 opens broadly flat
  • Brent crude pauses for breath
  • UK house price growth slows

Markets Stumble On Weak US Data

Following a weak readout for US manufacturing earlier in the week the US Services PMI index fell from 51.2 in March from 55.1 in February and well below consensus forecasts of 54.5.

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There’s further signs too of a weakening US labour market with private sector hiring rising by just 145,000 in March, down from 261,000 in February and below the estimate for 210,000.

While this may provide some support for the more doveish members of the Fed’s Open Market Committee, markets took little comfort from the reality that the world’s largest economy could be heading towards a recession.

Nasdaq Composite Posts Third Consecutive Loss

Cyclical stocks are bearing the brunt of investor concerns. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite index posted its third consecutive loss losing just over 1% on the day.

The S&P 500 fared better down just 0.25% but within that basket consumer discretionary shares fell 2.0% and industrials slipped by 1.3%. Perhaps it’s no surprise that oil prices have pulled back marginally after strong gains earlier in the week. Brent Crude is down 0.6% to $84.5 per barrel.

Asia Pacific Markets Follow Suit

Overnight Asian markets were broadly lower following Wall Street’s lead. A notable exception was India’s Nifty Fifty index which closed up 0.91%, following a surprise decision by the Reserve Bank of India to hold rates steady at 6.5% against expectations of a 0.25% cut. Meanwhile in London the FTSE 100 has ticked up 0.27% this morning to 7,683.92.

Later this morning we’ll be getting a health check on the UK Construction industry, with data due from the UK Construction PMI Index. The February read out saw a jump from 48.4 to 54.6 beating forecasts by some way. We’ll see if that trend continues.

UK House Price Growth Slows

According to the Halifax House Price Index published today house prices nudged up 1.6% last month compared to March last year, albeit at the slowest rate in three and a half years.

The report noted that mortgage rates have continued to trend downwards, housing transactions have picked up slightly, and the employment market remains robust. We still see challenges ahead as affordability remains under pressure. “

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Article by Derren Nathan, head of equity research, Hargreaves Lansdown