Stocks Wobble, But Commodities Skid Lower


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Equities wavered on Friday, however, gold and energy futures both came under heavy selling pressure as the dollar advanced.

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Today's Markets

As of 3:30 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.2 points, or 0.04%, to 15077, the S&P 500 rose 2.9 points, or 0.18%, to 1630 and the Nasdaq Composite ticked up 22.2 points, or 0.64%, to 3431.

It has been a relatively quiet week on Wall Street, with the pace of economic and corporate releases slowing dramatically. Volume on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday came in modestly shy of the year-to-date average.

Trading desks continued paying close attention to Japan. The Japanese yen tumbled 3% to the lowest level in more than four years against the greenback. The fall is the latest leg of a nosedive sparked by a new monetary policy from the Bank of Japan wherein the central bank has pledged to do whatever it takes to push inflation up to 2%.

The sliding yen left the dollar up 0.35% against a basket of world currencies. Oftentimes, strength in the dollar puts pressure on dollar-traded commodities.

Gold dropped $33, or 2.3%, to $1,435 a troy ounce. In energy markets, oil skidded $1.10, or 1.1%, to $95.32 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slumped 0.75% to $2.864.

In economic news, the U.S. federal budget surplus came in at $112.9 billion in April, up from $59 billion in the same month in 2012. The government is running a $488 billion deficit for fiscal 2013, down from $720 billion in a comparable period in fiscal 2012.

In corporate news, Hess (NYSE:HES) said it would break up its chairman and CEO roles amid increased shareholder from activist investors.

J.P. Morgan Chase’s (NYSE:JPM) lead director said in a letter to shareholders that it ‘could be disruptive’ to the biggest U.S. bank by assets to break up the chairman and chief executive roles currently held by Jamie Dimon. Multiple shareholder groups have pushed for the move to increase governance.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.54% to 2788, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 6619 and the German DAX edged up 0.53% to 8306.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 soared 2.9% to to 14608 and the Chinese Hang Seng ticked up 0.47% to 23321.

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