US equities settled in negative territory in this abbreviated session with downside pressure evident from the open, fiscal cliff uncertainty has weighed on the sentiment participants with talks seemingly stalled into the Christmas break. This means the S&P has extended its recent decline, the worst since mid-November, in a session of thin volumes and sparse news flow. In terms of stocks 8/10 sectors of the S&P settled in the red, the biggest decliner being Oil & Gas which sustained losses of 0.78%. Herbalife was one of the biggest laggards today with losses of almost 6% today on the back of a public spat with investor Bill Ackman of Pershing Square who compared them to a pyramid scheme, Herbalife shares have lost 40% since Ackman noted he was short on the stock. Finally, the DJIA finished down 0.39% at 13139.54, the S&P 500 finished down 0.24% at 1426.67 and the NASDAQ 100 finished down 0.25% at 2658.05.
USD/JPY trades at its highest points since April 2011 following comments over the weekend from the new Japanese Prime Minister Abe that a 90.00 level in USD/JPY would support Japans exports. This coincides with safe haven flows strengthening USD as fiscal cliff uncertainty lingers.
In terms of Treasuries it has been a relatively light session on both the volume and price action front. T-notes have seen around 68K contracts traded in comparison to the usual volumes of around 800K-1mln during peak, given Christmas day tomorrow. Overnight the US 10-yr yield broke above the 1.9% mark, however since, it has drifted firmly below that level to trade around 1.88%.
WTI crude futures are trading flat, while Brent crude futures are in minor negative territory heading into the early NYMEX close as a lack of macroeconomic data and news flow has provided little direction in the market.
Print 18:09, 24 Dec 2012 - Economic commentary - Source: RANsquawk
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