Stocks end lower, but reclaim most of the ground lost after mid-morning word of a strong aftershock quake in Japan.
Quake headlines and tsunami warning send a chill through a market that’s grown rather blase lately toward various pockets of global upheaval (Mideast/North Africa; Japan disaster; Eurozone debt problems). Despite the bump in volatility, trading volume remains anemic.
Industrials, financials and utilities among the weakest sectors; energy stocks finish higher as Nymex crude tops $110.00/barrel, to its highest settle since Sept 2008. Gold settles at fresh Comex high of $1,458.50/oz; silver hits fresh 31-yr high.
DJIA slips 17.26 to 12409.49, and Nasdaq Comp edges 3.68 lower to 2796.14. S&P 500 falls 2.03 to 1333.51.
Latest aftershock doesn’t appear to have done too much additional damage, but rapid, sharp plummet on initial quake/tsunami warning headlines may’ve put some fear back into a market that’s had an impressive ability to shake off troubling news.
Abundant liquidity has nurtured the risk trade, building complacency amid a hazardous backdrop as everyone thinks they can get out before the stampede begins. After glimpsing that hair trigger this morning, looks as if some risk-takers may have seen enough.