World Economy

S&P 500 Breaks 3-Year Winning Streak

S&P 500 Breaks 3-Year Winning StreakS&P 500 Breaks 3-Year Winning Streak

Wall Street finished the year on a downbeat note following the release of weaker than expected data on jobs and manufacturing sector activity, although some economists were still sanguine on both fronts.

The Dow Jones Industrials surrendered 179 points or 1.02% to end at 17,425, alongside drops of 19 and 59 points in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, respectively, ShareCast News reported.

Thursday’s 0.94% fall in the S&P 500 pushed the stock benchmark into the red for 2015 by 14.96 points or 0.73%, snapping a three-year winning streak.

To take note of, the S&P 500 failed to log its typical Santa Claus rally, suffering its worst December on record since 2002, although it managed a moderate gain in sterling terms.

The US jobs market softened slightly at the end of the year according to one of the most widely tracked measures, but a government statistics pointed the finger to seasonal quirks in the figures as the cause.

Initial US weekly unemployment claims increased by 20,000 to reach 287,000 during the week ending on 26 December, according to figures released by the US Department of Labor on Thursday. Economists had anticipated a smaller rise to 275,000.

Harder to dismiss was the drop in Market News International’s Chicago purchasing managers’ index from a reading of 48.7 in November to 42.9–its lowest since August 2009. That was well below the median market forecast for a print of 50.0.

European markets were similarly downbeat at the close of 2015, with the benchmark Stoxx 600 index and France’s CAC both slipping in thin volumes, while Germany’s DAX was closed.

China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite closed its final session of the year 33.69 points, or 0.94% lower at 3,539.18, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed up just 0.15% at 21,914.40.

In commodity markets, West Texas Intermediate oil futures for delivery in February rebounded 1.28% to stand at $37.07 per barrel on NYMEX, benefiting from news of geopolitical tensions.

That triggered a bounce in some of 2015’s most punished energy stocks.

Crude oil prices had tanked on Wednesday after the US Energy Information Administration reported a 2.6 million barrel expansion in domestic crude stockpiles on the back of higher imports and production. Analysts had been expecting the EIA to report a drop in stockpiles. On the corporate front, shares of Chimerix were notching up gains of 7.2% after hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen’s investment firm announced a 5.3% stake in the biotech company.

The worst performing industrial sectors were: hotel & lodging (-2.22%), tires (-1.95%) and platinum (-1.83%).