US stocks closed down slightly on Thursday after the International Monetary Fund warned Greece ahead of its Sunday referendum that it faces a huge financial hole, and mixed jobs data dampened the US economic outlook. While the IMF was warning that Greece needed an extra 50 billion euros over the next three years to stay afloat, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was urging voters to reject a bailout offer from lenders and saying he hoped to sign a new deal on Monday.
Frederic Ruffy submits: SentimentStocks are rallying following a day of gains in Europe and a round of mixed economic news Thursday. Stock benchmarks across Europe were led higher by a 2 percent gain in France’s CAC 40 Index on diminishing worries about the European Debt Crisis. The euro also rallied, gaining .0101 to 1.2081 against the buck.
US stocks fell sharply in heavy trading on Monday and the S&P 500 and the Dow had their worst day since October after a collapse in Greek bailout talks intensified fears that the country could be the first to exit the euro zone. The European Central Bank froze funding to Greek banks, forcing Athens to shut banks for a week to keep them from collapsing. And Greece appeared to confirm it was heading for a default after a government official said the country would not pay a 1.6 billon euro loan installment due to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.
Wall Street was sharply lower in afternoon trading on Tuesday, with all 10 major S&P sectors in the red, after weak economic data out of China and Europe rekindled fears of a slowing global economy. Activity at China's factories shrank for 14 straight months in April as demand stagnated, a private survey showed. Britain's manufacturing output last month also unexpectedly shrank to hit its lowest level in three years. Oil prices dropped about 2 per cent as rising output from the Middle East renewed concerns about global oversupply. Exxon fell 1.5 per cent and Chevron 2 per cent.
Wall Street was little changed at the open on Thursday, with investors reluctant to trade ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision later in the day. The Fed will announce the outcome of its policy meeting and release its latest economic projections at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), followed by a news conference by Chair Janet Yellen at 2:30 p.m. An increase in the Fed's benchmark rate, which has been near zero since the depths of the financial crisis in December 2008, would be the first since 2006.
After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 2