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Stock Market News for April 08, 2016

Benchmarks closed in the red following heightened concerns regarding weak global growth and another decline in crude prices. Yen’s surge raised worries that economic stimulus measures implemented by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) have failed to boost the economy. Meanwhile, oil prices declined following concerns that the production freeze meeting this month may fail to control the supply glut.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 1%, or 174.09 points, to close at 17,541.96. The S&P 500 fell 1.2% to close at 2,041.91. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,848.37, losing 1.5%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 14.7% to settle at 16.16. A total of around 7.2 billion shares were traded on Thursday, higher than the last 20-session average of 7.1 billion shares. Decliners outpaced advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 74% stocks that declined, 22% advanced.

The Japanese currency yen continued to rise yesterday despite Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) introduction of negative interest rates earlier this year. This intensified worries that economic stimulus measures, which includes negative interest rate, taken by BOJ in order to boost the economy failed to have any significant impact.

The U.S. dollar hit its lowest level against the yen in almost 18 months. The dollar decreased by 1.4% against the yen to 108.21 yen. Dollar has fallen 8% against the yen so far this year. Rising global growth worries also raised possibilities of slower-than-expected rate hike, which in turn had negative impact on financial sector.

The Financial Services Select Sector SPDR (XLFS) lost 2.3%, and was the biggest decliners among the S&P 500 sectors. Dow components JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) fell 2.5% and 3.1%, respectively. Top holdings from the sector such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B ), Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), Bank of America Corporation (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) decreased 0.6%, 2.4%, 3.2% and 3.8%, respectively.

Both the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) and SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) fell 1.9% and 2.6%, respectively, posting their worst one-day fall since Feb 11. Some of the key holdings of the bank sector including SVB Financial Group (SIVB), PacWest Bancorp ( PACW), Comerica Incorporated (CMA), New York Community Bancorp Inc. (NYCB), U.S. Bancorp (USB) and M&T Bank Corporation (MTB) fell 4%, 2.9%, 3.5%, 3%, 2.5% and 2.8%, respectively.

Additionally, oil prices snapped two-day winning stretch and declined yesterday, following an increase in Iraq’s crude exports. Iraq’s crude exports in April were 3.494 million barrels per day (bpd), more than March’s average of 3.286 million bpd. Also, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the country “wants to regain its place on the oil market.” It is being speculated that Iran may participate in the production freeze meeting this month but will freeze production only when it reaches its pre-sanction level of 3 million bpd.

Oil prices were also negatively impacted by reports that crude inventories in the delivery hub of Cushing, Oklahoma have increased by 255,804 barrels for the week ending April 5. Despite reports that TransCanada had closed its 590,000 bpd Keystone crude pipeline since Saturday, crude inventories rose. Both the WTI crude and Brent crude fell 1.3% and 1% to $37.26 per barrel and $39.43 a barrel, respectively.

In economic news, the U.S Department of Labor reported that seasonally adjusted initial claims decreased 9,000 to 267,000 in the week ending April 7. Initial claims were also less than the consensus estimate of 273,500.

Moreover, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reported that consumer credit increased by $17.3 billion in February, following January’s $14.8 billion increase. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.8% in February.

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