Markets closed down on Wall Street today: Dow -0.79%, S&P -0.65%, Nasdaq -0.36%, Oil -1.56%, Gold +0.74%.
Today’s markets were down because:
1) Debt ceiling. Every day I have to include the debt ceiling as one of the reasons the markets were down, a little piece of me dies. Four days until the Treasury’s deadline and Congress seems to have reached a stalemate. Boehner keeps pushing forward with his bill, and finally has enough votes in the House for it to pass, only to get voted down soon as it reaches the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans alike have vowed they will block it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is working on a budget plan that has wider support in the Senate, but it has yet to be put to a vote, until which point there’s no knowing which way it will go, especially in the Republican-led House. So in the meantime, we wait and listen to China (NYSE:FXI) complain about the US.
2) GDP. If yesterday’s positive economic news wasn’t enough to counteract the depressing effect of the looming debt ceiling, today’s bad economic news sure isn’t going to help matters. Stocks took a huge dip this morning right out of the gate after the Commerce Department reported GDP grew at an annual rate of 1.3% during the second quarter, well below projections of 1.8% growth. While data like durable goods orders and consumer spending give us an idea of how the economy is progressing, GDP covers the whole kit and kaboodle, and the most recent figures are not good.
3) Treasuries. While short-term Treasuries saw a moderate selling-off on Friday, as would be expected, the price on the benchmark 10-year note (NYSE:TLT) rose, pushing the yield down from 2.91% to 2.78%, the biggest one-day drop since December 2010. Longer-term investors tend to focus more on the economy than more immediate issues like those plaguing Washington at the moment, so the fact that the price of long-term notes is up shows that investors have a positive economic outlook.