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23 March 2019, Saturday  |  
 
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Market Commentary - Foreign Markets  
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Mixed finish for US stocks
(09:54, 13 Mar 2019)

U.S. stocks closed in a mixed mode on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 led by the health care and utilities sectors, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated as shares of Boeing came under heavy pressure following a fatal crash over the weekend of a 737 Max aircraft.

The Dow lost 96.22 points, or 0.4%, to end at 25,554.66. The S&P 500 rose 8.22 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 2,791.52 as health care and utilities stocks led gains, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 32.97 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 7,591.03. The price-weighted Dow fell as its largest component, Boeing sank another 6.2% after losing 5.3% Monday.

The S&P 500 health care, utilities, energy and communication services sectors led Tuesday's advance. Conversely, the industrials and consumer staples sectors underperformed.

Although, the Federal Aviation Administration declared the 737 Max 8 airworthy, more regulators have decided to ground the planes, including those in Australia, Singapore and the Middle East. The decisions come amid worries about flight systems in Boeing's 737 Max models following the weekend crash, which resulted in the death of 157 people near Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

Late Tuesday, Prime Minister May lost the vote on her revised Brexit deal, as expected, by a margin of 149 votes, despite securing last-minute concessions from the European Union over the Brexit divorce deal on Monday.

The British pound saw volatile trade throughout the session, while the ICE U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of the U.S. currency against six major rivals, was down 0.3%. Both currencies saw muted reaction, with traders having mostly priced in the outcome.

The dollar fell more steeply shortly after data revealed that the U.S. consumer-price index climbed 0.2% in February, matching market expectations, while the cost of living over the past year slowed again to 1.5% from 1.6%. A core reading of inflation, stripping out volatile food and energy prices, edged 0.1% higher, representing the smallest rise since August. The yearly increase in the so-called core rate also slowed a tick to 2.1%.

Bullion prices ended higher at Comex on Tuesday, 12 March 2019. Gold prices gained Tuesday, recouping most of the previous session's losses, with the dollar weakening in the wake of monthly U.S. inflation data, as investors watched the outcome of a vote by U.K. lawmakers on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, which came after the finish for bullion.

Gold for April delivery rose $7, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,298.10 an ounce on Tuesday after losing 0.6% on Monday. In electronic trading after the settlement, gold futures touched highs above $1,302, edging slightly higher after the Brexit vote. May silver ended 13.9 cents, or 0.9%, higher at $15.413 an ounce.

Crude oil futures settled higher for a second straight session on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 giving up an earlier move toward 2019 highs. Signs of a supply crunch lingered and traders assessed the latest monthly U.S. government price and output forecasts and allowed recent comments from energy officials to hold. Prices were briefly poised to settle at their highest since November, on the back of tightening Venezuelan supplies and signs that OPEC would continue cutting output into the second half of the year.

April West Texas Intermediate crude rose 8 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $56.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday after trading as high as $57.55. Global benchmark May Brent crude gained 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $66.67 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, following a high at $67.39.

The 2-yr yield declined three basis points to 2.44%, and the 10-yr yield declined four basis points to 2.61%.

Looking ahead, investors will receive the Producer Price Index for February, Durable Orders for January, Construction Spending for January, and the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index on Wednesday.

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