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Commodities Sink Most Since 2009 as Dollar Jumps

Thursday, 05 May 2011 12:30 PM

Commodities plunged the most in two years, stocks worldwide posted the biggest three-day drop since March and the dollar rallied after American jobless claims unexpectedly rose and the European Central Bank signaled it will wait until after June to raise interest rates.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities sank 4.8 percent at 12:10 p.m. in New York and has lost 8.1 percent this week. Silver tumbled 7.4 percent, extending its decline since April 29 to 25 percent, and oil sank 5.9 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index of shares in 45 nations fell 0.7 percent to 349.22, extending its three-day loss to 2.4 percent. The S&P 500 was unchanged after dropping 0.8 percent. The dollar gained 1.6 percent against the euro, making commodities quoted in the greenback more expensive for holders of other currencies.

U.S. claims for employment benefits jumped to 474,000 last week amid auto-plant shutdowns, exceeding the median economist estimate of 410,000 in a Bloomberg survey, while worker productivity declined. The euro weakened after ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet surprised some investors who expected a quicker move to fight surging inflation.

“Both equities and commodities had a big run,” said Mike Ryan, the New York-based chief investment strategist for Wealth Management Americas at UBS Financial Services Inc., which oversees $741 billion. Following the U.S. jobs report, “anyone wanting to take some profits now has an excuse to do it.”

Rallies in 2011

The S&P measure of commodities prices had surged 20 percent in 2011 through April 29. The MSCI stock gauge closed at the highest level since June 2008 on May 2 after rallying 8.2 percent since Dec. 31 following first-quarter earnings that beat estimates from 57 percent of its companies that posted results since April 11.

In addition to the employment data, a separate report today showed the productivity of U.S. workers slowed in the first quarter and labor costs rose as a growing economy prompted companies to boost employment. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 46.2, the lowest level in more than a month, as rising fuel costs squeezed American household budgets.

“The economic outlook is looking more challenging,” said Jason Brady, a managing director at Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which oversees about $84 billion in assets. “People have been crowding into stocks and commodities, but with the additional slowdown in the U.S. and the more difficult employment situation, there’s suddenly more uncertainty.”

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Commodities plunged the most in two years, stocks worldwide posted the biggest three-day drop since March and the dollar rallied after American jobless claims unexpectedly rose and the European Central Bank signaled it will wait until after June to raise interest rates.The...
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2011-30-05
Thursday, 05 May 2011 12:30 PM
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