Wall St Ends Solid May On A Sour Note
Despite Thursday’s last day of May fall, the month was still positive for US markets.
The Dow ended more than 250 points lower, a decline of 1%, the S&P 500 fell 0.7% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3%.
For May the Dow saw a 1.1% rise, the S&P 500 jumped 2.2% and the Nasdaq Composite surged 5.3%. The small-cap Russell 2000 though posted a 6.1% monthly rise.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index fell 0.6% for the month, a long way from the 3.9% jump in April.
The US dollar had its best month since the presidential election in November 2016, gaining 2.6%.
The Aussie dollar rose 0.4% over the month, ending at 75.6 US cents on Thursday afternoon new York Time (early Friday Sydney time).
Oil prices took a divergent tack - the July US West Texas Intermediate futures contract fell $US1.17, or 1.7%, to settle at $67.04 a barrel in New York on Thursday, May 31 to be down 2.2% for the month.
But in Europe, the July Brent crude contract which expired at the day’s settlement, rose 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $US77.59 a barrel, for a gain of 3.2% for the month. August Brent is now the front month contract.
The Metal Bulletin 62% Fe iron ore price delivered to northern China ended May at $US65.32, down a fraction from April’s $US65.68, but above March’s $US64.99.
Comex August gold lost $US1.80, or 0.1%, to settle at $US1,304.70 an ounce, a loss of around 1.6% lower for the month. Based on the most-active futures contracts, gold was down about 1.1% in May.
Gold hit a fresh 2018 low in mid-May and fell through the $US1,300-to-$US1,350 range that had confined gold for much of this year.
Comex July silver futures fell 0.5% to $US16.458 an ounce, but the metal was up nearly 0.5% for the month. Comex July copper ended at $US3.065 a pound, down 0.1% for the day, and down half a per cent for the month.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.