Here’s Why Investors Will Be Risk-Averse This Week

Stocks began to fade on Tuesday as investors became more risk-averse ahead of this week’s important economic reports. As I said on Monday: With the advance estimate of third-quarter GDP scheduled for release on Thursday and the October non-farm payrolls report set for Friday, it will be a challenge for stocks to maintain their current price levels through the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) lost 20 points to finish Tuesday’s trading session at 15,618 for a 0.13 percent decline. The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) declined 0.28 percent to 1,762. The Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) rose 0.12 percent to finish at 3,388. The Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) dropped 0.42 percent to 1,103. In other major markets, oil (NYSEARCA:USO) sank 1.09 percent to close at $33.67.

On London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange, December futures for Brent crude oil declined 60 cents (0.57 percent) to $105.50/bbl. (NYSEARCA:BNO). December gold futures declined $3.00 (0.23 percent) to $1,311.70 per ounce (NYSEARCA:GLD). Transports took a wrong turn on Tuesday, as the Dow Jones Transportation Average (NYSEARCA:IYT) declined 0.59 percent.

In Japan, a mixed bag of earnings reports resulted in a modest advance for the Nikkei. Nissan shares sank 10.41 percent on weak earnings guidance. The exchange rate for the yen was 98.45 per dollar just before Tuesday’s closing bell in Tokyo (NYSEARCA:FXY). The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.17 percent to 14,225 (NYSEARCA:EWJ).

In China, stocks advanced as investors remained hopeful about the economic policy meeting scheduled for November 9-12 in Beijing. On the other hand, investors in Hong Kong were worried about a tightening of the money supply. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.35 percent to 2,157 (NYSEARCA:FXI). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.65 percent to end the day at 23,038 (NYSEARCA:EWH).

Stocks sank in Europe as a batch of weak earnings reports was met with a downbeat growth forecast from the European Commission, which lowered its estimate for 2014 Eurozone GDP expansion to only 1.1 percent from the previous estimate of 1.2 percent growth. The Euro STOXX 50 Index finished Tuesday’s session with a 0.83 percent decline to 3,035 — remaining above its 50-day moving average of 2,925. Its Relative Strength Index is 58.52 (NYSEARCA:FEZ).

Technical indicators revealed that the S&P 500 remained above its 50-day moving average of 1,702 after finishing Tuesday’s session with a 0.28 percent decline to 1,762. Its Relative Strength Index fell from 65.89 to 63.16. The MACD took a slight dip and is on the verge of crossing below the signal line. Such a move would suggest the likelihood that the S&P 500 will decline during the immediate future.

For Tuesday, all sectors finished in negative territory, except for the consumer discretionary and consumer staples sectors. The energy sector took the hardest hit, with a 0.93 percent decline.

Consumer Discretionary (NYSEARCA:XLY): +0.02 percent
Technology: (NYSEARCA:XLK): -0.21 percent
Industrials (NYSEARCA:XLI): -0.10 percent
Materials: (NYSEARCA:XLB): -0.43 percent
Energy (NYSEARCA:XLE): -0.93 percent
Financials: (NYSEARCA:XLF): -0.48 percent
Utilities (NYSEARCA:XLU): -0.72 percent
Health Care: (NYSEARCA:XLV): -0.38 percent
Consumer Staples (NYSEARCA:XLP): +0.21 percent

Bottom line: The major stock indices made a modest retreat on Tuesday, while most sectors made more significant declines as investors became more defensive ahead of this week’s economic reports.

John Nyaradi is the author of The ETF Investing Premium Newsletter.

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