US stocks reverse field today, dropping along with a variety of other risky assets as the dollar surges amid a global scramble for safe havens.
DJIA falls 53 to 10836, a day after jumping 103, S&P 500 falls 6 to 1168, Nasdaq Comp loses 16 to 2399. Gold, crude both fall, with the latter sliding under $80/barrel.
Meanwhile, and conversely, the dollar surges as euro tumbles after Portugal gets downgraded, reminding everybody than Greece isn’t the only trouble European nation. Euro falls to a 10-month low against the greenback, and some sharp-eyed observers expect to see it continue dropping.
But the flight to safety doesn’t permeate to Treasurys, where a weak 5-year Treasurys auction adds to sovereign debt jitters, and government bonds sell off.
Domestically, new home sales in February fell to a record low, which is especially bad after yesterday’s bad existing home sales report. The housing market, it seems, hasn’t exactly gotten the memo that it’s time for it to sail under its own power. Durable goods rose though, offering some hope for the recovery crowd.
But a quick look in that direction also reveals some causes for concern. For one thing, orders and shipments for computers were weak. Then there was an interview with Xerox’s chairman, who said the company isn’t seeing a “significant change” in business spending. Just two more little signs that this expected surge in capital spending that’s going to be the rocket fuel the economy needs may not turn up.