U.S. stocks are down today almost a full percent as the S&P 500 INDEX (INDEXCBOE:SPX) is trading at 2,066 and the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX) followed, slipping 0.75% on the day.
Dollar continues its descent
The main events that took place during the day that guided the direction of the stock markets include the dollar’s extensive losses and weak factory activity in both China and the U.K. The U.S. Dollar (CURRENCY:USD) tested fresh lows today against major global currencies as the expectations of a near-future hike by the Federal Reserve were put to rest.
Additionally, the outlook on global equities once again turned negative after the European Commission trimmed its growth forecasts for the Eurozone. The EC now projects the gross domestic product of the euro zone to grow by 1.6% this year, lower from the earlier estimate of 1.7% growth. Alongside this, the consumer prices are also likely to grow at a slower pace of 0.2% than earlier projections of a 0.5% growth.
China and U.K. PMI indicates contraction
The data released in China as well as the U.K., further added to the global economic slowdown concerns. The China Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) read 49.4 in April, down from 49.7 in March. At the same time, the Markit manufacturing PMI in the U.K. also declined to 49.2 in April from 50.7 in March. These numbers dampened the market outlook, sending the Asian and European equities lower.
Besides this, the Reserve Bank of Australia joined other central banks and announced an interest rate cut to prevent the onset of deflationary pressures. The Central Bank trimmed interest rates by 25 basis points to 1.75%, which marks the country’s first easing measure this year.
Amidst falling equities and crumbling dollar, gold managed to reclaim its $1,300 level, indicating a rise in appetite for safe assets.