What to Watch on Friday
Stocks finished lower for a fourth day but recovered most of the Click on the chart for full-size image session’s losses just before the closing bell when the House of Representatives said it would come back to work this weekend with the aim of avoiding the “fiscal cliff.” The CBOE VIX volatility index jumped above 20 for the first time since July, climbing around 4 percent in another sign of growing concern. However, it was last down by 1 percent. Stocks in the materials and the financial sectors, which are more vulnerable to the economy’s performance, took the brunt of the selling. Shares in Bank of America fell 0.6 percent, while Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold fell 0.7 percent. The Dow was down 0.14 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.12 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.14 percent.
Treasury debt prices rose on safe-haven buying after the U.S. Senate majority leader hinted a federal budget deal was unlikely before a year-end deadline, raising chances of a burdensome package of tax hikes and spending cuts next year. Nervous investors sold stocks and other risky assets and piled into Treasuries, sending the interest rates on T-bills for delivery in early January into negative territory in reaction to Reid’s glum assessment. Benchmark 10-year notes were 5/32 higher in price to yield 1.732 percent. Thirty-year bonds rose 13/32 to yield 2.901 percent.
Crude futures edged up in choppy trading after the House of Representatives said it would come back to work this weekend with the aim of avoiding the “fiscal cliff”. February crude added 19 cents or 0.21 percent, to settle at $91.17 a barrel. Brokers said few investors wished to make large bets on the direction of oil prices until the U.S. budget talks were resolved, or during a holiday period characterized by low trading volumes.
Gold inched up and hovered around four-month lows. Spot gold rose $4.72 an ounce to $1,664.21. Gold futures for February gained 0.22 percent to $1,664.4.