Stock markets had a whirlwind of a day as indexes fluctuated between gains and losses amidst the looming Greek debt negotiations, ultimately closing in shallow green territory. On the home front, the Nasdaq charged ahead, gaining 0.41% on the day, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average just barely pulled off a win, settling 0.04% higher on the day. Crude oil prices were also quite volatile, hitting a high of $100.09 a barrel in the morning, only to settle lower near the $99 level as the trading session drew to a close [see also Doomsday Special: 7 Hard Asset Investments You Can Hold In Your Hand].
With no major economic data releases on the home front today, equity markets took cues from overseas. Switzerland’s unemployment rate came in unchanged at 3.1%, while Germany’s trade balance took a bit of a hit. The trade balance account for the exporting-behemoth came in at 12.9 billion euros, a modest decreases from the previous reading of 15.9 billion. German imports and exports also dropped last month; imports came in at -3.9%, versus the previous reading of -0.2%, while exports contracted by 4.3%, versus the previous reading which showed an expansion of 2.6% [see also Three Long/Short Ideas For Euro Zone Debt Drama].
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the best performers, gaining 2.21% on the day, bolstered by ongoing drama surrounding the Greek debt-deal agreement. Uncertainty was quick to return to the markets as lawmakers overseas remain in a heated negotiation process; Greek politicians are hesitant about accepting the proposed austerity measures, while a plan to pay back the lenders is also still in the works.
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The State Street SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was one of the worst performers, shedding 0.71% on the day, as investors were tempted to take profits in the precious metal ahead of the anticipated Greek debt-deal. Gold prices slipped lower on the day, settling near $1,735 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar remained fairly flat in the currency market; this rather uncharacteristic divergence in performances perhaps suggests that today’s price action in gold was largely influenced by the cloud of uncertainty that remains over the debt burdened currency bloc.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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