Japan Weaker, Asia & U.S. Volatile This Week as Global Markets Adjust to Central Bank Actions
Asian stocks sold off for the week after a 7% drop in Japanese share prices last Tuesday sparked selling in the region. The selloff was attributed to the Chinese Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) and concerns about the U.S. Federal Reserve changing its current easing policies sooner than expected. While shares recovered some of the gains the following day, stocks in the region have been volatile. The NASDAQ ASPA INDEX (NQASPA) fell 4.9% over the past 5 days.
"Markets that are fueled to some degree by central banker actions can be subject to quick reversals with sudden changes in sentiment, especially if the underlying fundamentals have not been altered by the central bank's actions," said Dave Gedeon, Managing Director, NASDAQ OMX Global Indexes (NDAQ). "The selloff in Japan last week is evidence of the velocity of moves in stocks, even if news is presumed to be priced in. With that being said, Japan's outsized move did not have a significant impact on other markets, as the U.S. remained relatively flat during this period."
TOP WEEKLY INDEX MOVERS (+ / -)
TOP 5 EQUITY INDEXES:
NASDAQ ASPA INDEX (NQASPA)
PHLX UTILITY INDEX (UTY)
NASDAQ INTERNET INDEX (QNET)
NASDAQ BIOTECHNOLOGY INDEX (NBI)
NASDAQ CHINA INDEX (NQCN)
TOP 5 COMMODITY INDEXES:
PHLX GOLD/SILVER SECTOR INDEX (XAU)
NASDAQ COMMODITY CORN INDEX ER (NQCICER)
PHLX OIL SERVICE SECTOR INDEX (OSX)
NASDAQ COMMODITY LEAN HOGS INDEX ER (NQCILHER)
NASDAQ COMMODITY ENERGY INDEX ER (NQCIENER)
The PHLX UTILITIES INDEX (UTY) fell 4.4% this past week as rotation out of defensive names continues in the market rally. Despite this decline, the Index is up 39.3% year-to-date.
The NASDAQ INTERNET INDEX (QNET) dropped by 2.5% this past week, as sentiment cooled following several large company announcements in recent weeks.
The broader U.S. market reversed gains following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that caused some speculation about Fed policy going forward. The NASDAQ US BENCHMARK INDEX (NQUSB) fell 0.5% as investors appear sensitive to any unwinding of central banker easing.
Investors will be watching the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, Initial Jobless claims and the "Personal Consumption Expenditures Deflator" – an inflation measure – for clues about the underlying economy and, equally importantly, any perceived U.S. Federal Reserve response. Watch the NASDAQ US BENCHMARK INDEX (NQUSB) for a broad view of market reaction to these economic releases.