Profit taking on Tuesday was a worldwide event. News that the U.S. GDP revision was worse than expected undermined the markets. The Conference Board's reading on consumer confidence came in slightly above expectations. Lack of follow through on yesterday's stock market rally certainly didn't inspire any investor confidence. Meanwhile a bounce in the U.S. dollar is pulling commodities lower.
Foreign markets were down across the board. The profit taking in China was robust. The Chinese Shanghai index plunged 3.4% on strong volume. The Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 1.5%. These were the biggest one-day declines in weeks for the Chinese markets. The Japanese NIKKEI posted a 1% decline. Financials were leading the decline across the region. The selling pressure spread to Europe. Stocks tried to rally from their morning lows but rolled over late this afternoon on the U.S. GDP numbers. The English FTSE fell 0.59%. The German DAX lost 0.55%. The French CAC-40 gave up 0.75%.
One of the big stories today is the Commerce Department's release of U.S. third-quarter GDP. Economists were expecting the +3.5% Q3 growth rate to be dialed back down toward +2.9%. This morning's revision came in at +2.8%, worse than expected and definitely casting doubts on the health of the recovery.
There is a lot of focus on consumer spending as we approach "Black Friday" for the retailers. The Conference Board released their latest reading for consumer confidence. The numbers were slightly better than expected with a rise from 48.7 in October to 49.5 in November. Overall confidence remains low. Readings near 90.0 are traditionally associated with a strong economy.
There could be some confusion over the state of housing. One of the headlines this morning was an improvement in the Case-Shiller (20-city) home price index. This measure of home prices rose 0.3% in September, marking the fourth monthly gain in a row. Yet just yesterday the National Association of Realtors report on existing home sales said home prices fell 2% from September to October.
Elsewhere in the news financials were struggling after the managing director of the IMF said banks have only reported half of their losses from the financial crisis. The bond market witnessed a successful auction of five-year notes this afternoon. The Treasury department sold $42 billion in five-year notes and the bid-to-cover ratio was strong at 2.81 versus the previous auction at 2.28. The market is also looking forward to the minutes of the FOMC's November 4th meeting, which are due to be released in about 20 minutes (2:00 p.m.). Finally a bounce in the U.S. dollar is pushing commodities lower. Oil is getting hammered with a 2% decline. Silver and grains are down. Copper is fractionally higher and gold is trading near unchanged on the session.
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Scanning the OptionInvestor.com play list for movement we see that GMCR is rolling over with a 3.4% decline today. NTRS, a regional bank, is off about 0.9%. RIMM is also down about 0.9% and back under the $60.00 level.