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Despite the odds, the U.S. equity markets overcame early losses, negative international economic indicators, and the pending sequester to end Friday with fractional gains. A larger-than-expected increase in consumer sentiment helped spur the gains.
At the close: DJIA: +0.25%, S&P 500: +0.23%, NASDAQ: +0.30%.
On the commodities front, WTI crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) fell 1.49 percent to $90.68 per barrel. Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, dropped $5.80 to settle at $1,572.30 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March edged 6 cents higher to close at $28.45. It was gold’s third consecutive trading day in the red.
Both precious metals were relatively stable, despite the U.S. dollar climbing higher. The automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, are set to begin today with no truce being called between Democrats and Republicans.
Speaking about the inability to get a deal done, President Obama explains, “I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.”
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