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19-May2018

US markets closed mostly lower; Dow ekes minor gain

The US markets closed lower on Friday, with major indexes posting modest weekly declines as investors grappled with lingering uncertainty over trade negotiations between the US and China, as well as bond yields that climbed this week to the highest level since 2011. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said that rules adopted after the financial crisis that have made big US banks more resilient over the last decade should be tested in the next downturn before they are reduced in any major way. The official added that the US economic outlook is as strong as it has been in a long time. But that does not mean that little-tested, so-called countercyclical standards, which would raise requirements on banks during good times and ahead of a downturn, should be tightened. Mester added that instead, existing capital and liquidity standards should be set somewhat higher than they would be if we had more experience with and confidence in the countercyclical tools.

Meanwhile, interest rates on US 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to the highest in seven years as a bond market selloff this week propelled 10-year yields to the highest since July 2011. The US mortgage finance agency added that thirty-year mortgage rates averaged 4.61 percent in the week ended May 17, matching the level last seen in May 2011. A week earlier, 30-year rates averaged 4.55 percent. Average 15-year mortgage rates rose to 4.08 percent in the latest week from 4.01 percent, while interest rates on five-year adjustable mortgages averaged 3.82 percent, up from 3.77 percent a week earlier.

The Nasdaq dropped 28.134 points or 0.38 percent to 7,354.34, the S&P 500 was down by 7.16 points or 0.26 percent to 2,712.97, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.11 points to 24,715.09. 


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