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Wed, Jun 26th, 2019
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Futures Market News and Commentary

U.S. Stock Indexes Close Lower on Weak Economic Data and Iran Tensions

The S&P 500 ($SPX) on Tuesday closed down by -27.97 (-0.95%), the Dow Jones Industrials index ($DOWI) closed down -179.32 (-0.67%), and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) closed down -131.485 (-1.70%). U.S. stock indexes sold off Tuesday on weak U.S. economic data and ramped-up Iran tensions. Tuesday's data showed that May new home sales unexpectedly fell -7.8% to a 5-month low of 626,000, weaker than expectations of +1.6% to 684,000. In addition, the Conference Board's June U.S. consumer confidence index fell by -9.8 points to a 1-3/4 year low of 121.5, weaker than expectations of -3.1 to 131.0. Tensions between U.S. and Iran increased after Iran said that Monday's action by the U.S. to impose additional sanctions on Iran has closed off any diplomatic means for a solution. President Trump then ratcheted up the rhetoric Tuesday when he said any attack by Iran on the U.S. or its interests will be answered with "great and overwhelming force." Another negative for stock prices was reduced optimism for a resolution to the US/China trade war after U.S. officials played down expectations for this Saturday's meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Japan, saying the U.S. wasn't prepared to compromise on its demands for meaningful Chinese economic reforms. The VIX volatility index ($VIX) on Tuesday jumped to a 2-week high of 16.68% and finished the day up +1.02 to 16.28% as it climbs further from last Thursday's 1-1/2 month low of 13.19%. The VIX remains far below the 5-week high from June 3 of 19.75% and the early-May 5-1/2 month high of 23.38%.
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