A fourth straight day of falls nudged stocks towards two-month lows on Thursday, as ricocheting commodity prices, a jumpy dollar and an extra helping of emerging market uncertainty made for a jittery global mood.
Oil prices, whose sharp decline has been a big driver of recent volatility, were fighting for their first rise of the week, but with so much else tumbling the so-called global “fear” gauge, the VIX .VIX, climbed to its highest in almost a month.
European shares .FTEU3 teetered on the brink of a third day of losses and it was touch and go whether Wall Street would make it a fourth day in a row as S&P 500 ESc1 and Dow 1YMc1 futures prices faded back to almost flat. [.N]
The dollar .DXY edged higher as traders, eyeing next week’s expected increase in U.S. interest rates, took advantage of its dip over the last month. [FRX/]
That in turn took the wind out of the resurgent euro’s EUR= sails, while the Swiss franc EURCHF= rose to a one-week high against the euro after the Swiss National Bank steered clear of any changes in its already deeply negative rates.
“In general there is some excitement on where to position ahead of the Fed’s meeting,” Rabobank strategist Philip Marey said. “We also have crude prices which are doing some pretty amazing things at the moment and which are having an impact on the inflation outlook again.”