Stocks tumbled globally thanks to falling commodity prices

Worries about US tax reform also sent shares lower.

United States

US stocks followed those in Europe and Asia and retreated Wednesday. Energy stocks declined for a fourth day as they tracked crude prices lower. Oil prices declined after US stockpiles for crude and gasoline unexpectedly increased. Tax reform is dominating discussions with separate bills by the House of Representatives and the Senate vying for support.

The Dow Jones industrials were down 0.6 percent while the Nasdaq was 0.5 percent lower. The S&P declined 0.6 percent in its worst day since September 5. The index was hit by the energy sector decline along with declines in consumer staples and technology stocks. Financials and telecoms were the only two to finish in the black. Exxon and Schlumberger dropped. Target tumbled after it issued a disappointing profit forecast for the key holiday quarter.

Consumer prices in October inched up 0.1 percent after climbing by 0.5 percent in September. On the year, the CPI was up 2.0 percent. October retail sales were up 0.2 percent on the month and 4.6 percent from a year ago. November Empire State manufacturing index dropped to 19.4 from 30.2 in October, although a positive reading still indicates growth.

These data reflect observations at 4:00 PM US ET. Gold at the afternoon London fixing was up US$7.60 to US$1,182.20. Copper futures were down 0.5 percent to US$3.05. WTI spot crude was down 44 US cents to US$55.26. Dated Brent spot crude was down 38 US cents to US$61.83. The US dollar was up against the Canadian and Australian dollars. It was unchanged against the euro and pound and down against the yen and Swiss franc. The Dollar Index was down 0.04 percent. The yield on the US Treasury 30 year bond was down 6 basis points to 2.33 percent while the 10 year note was down 5 basis points to 2.33 percent.

European markets

Shares mostly retreated on Wednesday with the exception of the IBEX which added 0.2 percent. The FTSE was down 0.6 percent, the CAC declined 0.2 percent and the DAX and SMI both lost 0.4 percent. The continued rise in the value of the euro again pressured shares of exporters. Weak commodity prices because of slowing Chinese growth also weighed on shares of energy, metal and mining stocks. Some of the retrenchment has attributed to profit taking.

Innogy declined after the company announced that Werner Brandt, chairman of its supervisory board, will step down from his post at the end of the year. Lanxess was lower after reporting a decline in third-quarter net income. K+S Group declined even though it reported a profit in its third quarter compared to loss last year. The company also reiterated its fiscal 2017 forecast. EDF declined on concerns surrounding possible delays in the delivery of nuclear plants.

Airbus rallied after winning an order worth a total $49.5 billion to sell 430 jetliners. Premier Foods jumped after the company returned to profit in the first half. Statoil was lower in Oslo after it agreed to pay $4 million to settle a US charge over market manipulation. Tullow Oil, TechnipFMC and OMV declined. Altice advanced after the company appeased investors by announcing a shift in focus from acquisitions to reducing its €50 billion net debt. Vestas Wind and Siemens Gamesa were higher as they recovered from sharp losses in the previous sessions.

The UK unemployment rate held steady at the lowest since 1975 but employment declined in the third quarter. The ILO jobless rate was 4.3 percent in the third quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter.

Asia Pacific

Shares retreated Wednesday as commodities declined on concerns over slowing Chinese growth and uncertainty prevailed over the fate of US tax reforms.

The Shanghai Composite was down 0.8 percent after data released on Tuesday suggested that growth was moderating. The Hang Seng was 1.0 percent lower.

The Nikkei tumbled 1.6 percent and the Topix dropped 2.0 percent as the yen surged and GDP painted a mixed picture of the economy. The initial estimate of third quarter gross domestic product was up 0.3 percent on the quarter after increasing 0.6 percent in the second quarter. Exporters Canon, Sony and Panasonic along with energy stocks Inpex and Japan Petroleum were lower.

Both the S&P/ASX and All Ordinaries were 0.6 percent lower as lower prices for oil and metals pulled down mining and energy stocks. Oil Search, Origin Energy, Santos and Beach Energy declined after oil prices fell for a third day in a row on Tuesday. A broad-based pullback in base metals prices weighed on the mining sector with BHP Billiton, South32, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group retreating. The big four banks were lower after the release of sluggish wage growth and consumer confidence data.

The Kospi was down for the fifth consecutive day, losing 0.3 percent Wednesday as growing economic uncertainties kept investors nervous. The Sensex was 0.6 percent lower. India's merchandise trade deficit widened to an almost three-year high in October as exports declined for the first time in 14 months.

Looking forward

Australia posts its October labour force survey. UK releases October retail sales. The Eurozone posts final October harmonized index of consumer prices. Canada reports September manufacturing sales. In the US, October import/export prices, October industrial production and weekly jobless claims, money supply and fed balance sheet will be released.

Global Stock Markets

Global Stock Markets

Note — all releases are listed in local time.