Amid these tensions, the precious metals got a boost. Spot gold was up 0.6% (+$8) to $1,333/oz while futures pointed higher.
Spot silver surged 1.3% (+21¢) to $16.55/oz. Platinum traded unchanged at $930/oz yet palladium was down 0.4% to $945/oz.
U.S. Markets Sink Lower After Holiday Weekend
Wall St opened mixed, as the Dow Jones was unchanged but the Nasdaq tumbled 0.5%. The S&P 500 was off about 0.2%.
China announced new tariffs of as high as 25% on over 100 different U.S. goods. The plans were made public about a week ago but will now become effective starting today.
Although this should come as a surprise to no one, the Chinese tariffs were the main factor weighing down U.S. stocks.
European exchanges remained closed for Easter on Monday. Asian markets fell about 0.3% overnight.
The dollar dipped about 0.1% on the DXY index, trading at 89.9. Britain’s pound sterling was up 0.3% to $1.405 while the euro and yen were mostly flat.
Forex traders showed little reaction to a decline in the monthly ISM manufacturing index reported this morning. The index was unexpectedly strong in February.
Volatility, Debt On the Rise During First Quarter
The so-called “fear gauge” for Wall St, the VIX volatility index, rose an astounding 80% during the first quarter. Renewed volatility made February and March rough sledding for equities.
Investors will now likely turn their attention to corporate earnings from Q1, which will begin to come over the wire this month.
One potential area of concern is how indebted many companies have become during the current period of economic expansion. Roughly $2.5 trillion worth of corporate debt is at risk of being downgraded to “junk” status.
Meanwhile, credit card debt among American consumers is now topping $1 trillion.
10-year Treasurys saw their yield add two basis points to 2.76%.
Most commodities were higher but oil prices fell. WTI crude pulled back about 55¢ (-0.85%) to $64.40/bbl. Brent crude was off 0.45% to $69 per barrel.
Quietly, gold has actually strung together three straight winning quarters, which hasn’t happened in seven years.
Looking ahead, there a pair of employment reports coming out this week: the ADP payrolls will be released on Wednesday and the big nonfarm payrolls (NFP) for March come out on Friday.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.