Euro and oil resume fall; stocks slip on weak data

Fri Jan 2, 2015 4:47pm EST
 
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By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The euro fell on Friday, continuing the slide that saw the currency finish out 2014 at a 29-month low against the U.S. dollar, on expectations that the European Central Bank will soon embark on outright money-printing.

Crude prices fell in a volatile session, while equities as measured by a global index lost ground.

Wall Street's equity benchmark ended a choppy day barely changed, with gains in energy and high-dividend stocks offsetting declines in consumer-centered shares.

The S&P 500 on Wednesday closed out trading for 2014 with a third consecutive year of double-digit percentage gains, though it ended about 1 percent below its all-time closing high.

The euro threatened to dip below $1.20 for the first time since June 2010 on Friday, hitting a low of $1.2002.

The divergence between European and U.S. monetary policy dominated currency markets' thinking last year. Remarks by ECB President Mario Draghi on Friday, in an interview with German financial daily Handelsblatt, that the central bank was less likely to preserve price stability than it was six months ago added to expectations that the ECB will step in soon.

"Markets and commentators have been talking about this for ages, but to hear it from the horse's mouth has had a clear effect on the euro," said David Rodriguez, a quantitative strategist at DailyFX.com, a unit of retail FX broker FXCM in New York.

The ECB, which targets inflation at just below 2 percent, is to hold its next policy meeting on Jan. 22.   Continued...

 
Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the German share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange on January 2, 2015. REUTERS/Remote/Stringer