On Friday, global stock markets weakened and both the euro and gold slipped, as a new setback in talks to avert a U.S. fiscal crisis and evidence of the ongoing economic difficulties of Europe stoked investor nerves.
A proposal from Republican leader John Boehner to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff failed to get support from his party, casting fresh uncertainty over talks to avoid across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts that could push the U.S. economy into recession in 2013.
The dollar and yen and U.S. and German Government bonds all rose as falls in London (.FTSE), Paris (.FCHI) and Frankfurt (.GDAXI) pushed the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3) index of top European stocks and MSCI’s global index <.MIWD00000PUS> down 0.6 and 0.4 percent respectively.
“Risk assets look vulnerable over the holiday trading period. The recent performance of key benchmarks has priced in a satisfactory outcome to the U.S. fiscal discussions, which is far from a done deal,” said Peel Hunt strategist Ian Williams.
Brent crude oil fell more than $1 per barrel towards $109 and bullion slipped $1.38 an ounce to a near four-month low.
“The market volume is thin amidst all these uncertainties, and the year is coming to an end. Many of the investors prefer to take profits and just leave the market,” said Brian Lan, managing director of GoldSilver Central Pte Ltd in Singapore.