The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended narrowly higher Wednesday, after languishing in the red for much of the session. Earlier in the day, a spate of international central banks cut interest rates, signaling a synchronous tilt toward easier monetary policy as officials sounded the alarms on the impact of ongoing trade tensions to global growth.
Haven assets including U.S. Treasurys and precious metal prices continued to gap higher following a rout in risk assets earlier this week. Gold prices breached the $1,500 per ounce level for the first time since 2013. German bond yields slid further into negative territory, with Germany’s yield curve flattening the most since the financial crisis Wednesday morning.
Here were the main moves in the market, as of the end of regular trading:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.08%, or 2.25 points
Dow (^DJI): -0.08%, or 21.74 points
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.36%, or 29.56 points
10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): -2.8 bps to 1.711%
Gold futures (GC=F): +1.7% to $1,509.40 per ounce
U.S. dollar index (DX-Y.NYB): -0.05% to 97.58
U.S. dollar to onshore Chinese yuan rate ( CNY=X): -0.0256% to 7.0222
At the lows of the day, the Dow was off as many as 589 points.
New Zealand’s central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points, a more aggressive cut than had been expected by most economists, to an all-time low of 1%. The country’s Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr signaled that economic headwinds had risen, and that further action – including cutting to negative interest rates – could be warranted.
Other economies also saw their key interest rates lowered Wednesday, on account of rising global uncertainties. Thailand’s central bank unexpectedly cut rates by 25 basis points, while India’s central bank decreased its own rate by 35 basis points.
The contemporaneous moves on the part of the three central banks underscored a global economy