Morning Notes

28/03/2018 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks slid intraday, pressured by further declines in technology and financial shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had swung between small gains and losses for much of the session before turning firmly lower in the final hour of trading as losses accelerated in the tech sector. The blue-chip index fell 345 points, or 1.4%, to 23858, while the S&P 500 slipped 1.7%, and the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite declined 2.9%. The S&P 500's technology sector dropped 3.4%, suffering the biggest losses of the index's 11 major segments. Nvidia, which has made a broad push to bring its computing platform into self-driving cars, was the worst performer in the broad index after the chip company said it will temporarily halt testing of its driverless technology on public roads following the fatal crash of an Uber Technologies autonomous vehicle. The U.S. gold price fell overnight, dropping 0.6% to finish at 1,344.50 US$/oz.

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27/03/2018 Argonaut morning note

U.S. stocks vaulted higher Monday as investor jitters over restrictive trade policies around the world moderated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.8%. The Nasdaq Composite added 3.3% and S&P 500 rose 2.7%. The reprieve for U.S. stocks comes after the worst week in more than two years. Shares of financial and technology companies within the S&P 500 were some of the biggest winners Monday after investors dumped them in prior sessions, though all sectors got a lift. A reassessment of trade policy rhetoric between the U.S. and China after the weekend helped push stock indexes higher Monday, analysts said. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that China and the U.S. have started negotiating to improve U.S. access to mainland Chinese markets. The behind-the-scenes discussions came after announcements of U.S. plans to hit China with tariffs on as much as $60 billion in imports and other restrictions -- and the immediate threat of Chinese retaliation -- sent U.S. stock prices into their sharpest decline in more than two years last week. The Trump administration sent a letter to Chinese officials late last week, setting out requests that include a reduction of Chinese tariffs on U.S. automobiles and greater access to China's financial sector by American companies, the Journal reported. The U.S. gold price continued its upward movement over night as it increased by 0.5% to 1,353.20 US$/oz.

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26/03/2018 Argonaut morning note

U.S. stocks suffered their worst week in more than two years, signalling mounting investor anxiety over whether factors from restrictive trade policies to rising interest rates could disrupt the nine-year bull market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 1,400 points over five days, a 5.7% decline that marked the blue-chip index's biggest weekly percentage loss since January 2016. Financial stocks in the S&P 500 dropped 3% Friday, with Bank of America and Morgan Stanley falling nearly 5% apiece. Tech stocks slid nearly as much, with Facebook posting its third-worst weekly fall on record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 425 points, or 1.8%, to 23,533 on Friday, deepening its declines for the year and closing at its lowest level since November. The S&P 500 fell 55 points, or 2.1%, to 2,588 and the Nasdaq Composite shed 174 points, or 2.4%, to 6993. Stocks elsewhere around the world fell broadly, with benchmark indexes in Europe, Japan, Shanghai and Hong Kong each losing more than 3% for the week. The U.S. gold price had another strong night, finishing 1.4% higher at 1,346.80 US$/oz.

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23/03/2018 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks fell intraday, pulled down by shares of banks and manufacturers, as investors worried whether a new round of tariffs would further fan the threat of a trade war. The declines were broad, with nine of the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 -- and all 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average -- suffering losses. The blue-chip index extended its declines in the final hour of trading, eventually finishing down 724 points or 2.9% to 23,958. The S&P 500 fell 2.5% whilst the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.4%. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, a measure of expected swings in the S&P 500, rose 12% after shooting up more than 20% earlier in the day. Investors said anxiety over the ramifications of the Trump administration's plan to levy tariffs on imports from China contributed to the pullback. The moves come as the market was already trying to work through new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, along with worries about rising interest rates. The U.S. gold price was slightly weaker overnight, falling 0.2% to 1,328.60 US$/oz.

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22/03/2018 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks lost ground Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates and reiterated plans for two more increases this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2%, falling to 24,682. The S&P 500 also fell, dropping 0.2%, whilst the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.2%. Ahead of the announcement, all three indexes swung between small gains and losses for the second straight session following sharp declines to start the week. Some investors had feared the Fed would raise rates four times in 2018, but the central bank reiterated Wednesday plans for three total this year. Still, more officials now think four increases might be necessary, and the Fed also marked up slightly the estimate of interest rates it expects to prevail over the long run. Stocks rose earlier in the session after U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers that several key U.S. allies and trading partners won't face steel and aluminium tariffs until negotiations on possible exemptions wrap up next month. Worries that protectionist trade policies could spread following the U.S. tariffs expected to take effect Friday and crimp global economic growth have made some money managers anxious in recent weeks. Energy stocks surged alongside oil prices Wednesday after a weekly report showed U.S. inventories surprisingly decreased during the week ended March 16. The S&P 500 energy sector climbed 2.7%. A rise in metals prices boosted materials stocks, which added 1.3%. The U.S. gold price reacted strongly overnight, rising 1.6% to finish at 1,331.80 US$/oz.

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