Sector movers: Defensives bid higher amid low trading volumes
(ShareCast News) - Defensive plays rose to the top towards the end of the session, with markets erasing early gains as geopolitical tensions took their toll amid holiday-depleted trading volumes.
Overnight, North Korea warned that it would respond to any aggressive actions by the US.
In parallel, a chill wind was blowing from the East as Moscow refused to confirm whether president Vladimir Putin would meet with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his inaugural visit to the country.
Against that backdrop, front month COMEX-traded gold futures found a solid bid and at the end of trading in London were standing 1.63% higher at $1,274.20/oz..
Longer-term US Treasury note yields were also lower, falling back towards technical support as they retreated by a substantial six basis points to 2.31%.
It was therefore scarcely surprising that Tuesday's leaderboard was a veritable 'who's who' of defensive sectors, including Real Estate Investment Trusts, electric utilities and Tobacco.
Going the other way, losses in US-focused CRH and Ibstock more than offset a sharp rise for Balfour Beatty on the back of an upgrade out of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
Meanwhile, a drop in Chinese steel rebar futures from $543.5 a metric tonne on Monday to $537.6 on Tuesday likely contributed to the drop in shares of Evraz.
As regards Automobiles, traders at SP Angel referenced first quarter 2017 data from China which revealed a slowdown in growth following the expiration of tax breaks on small engine vehicles at the end of 2016.
Top performing sectors so far today
Mining 16,229.02 +1.45%
Food Producers & Processors 8,044.00 +1.30%
Chemicals 12,730.64 +1.17%
Travel & Leisure 9,238.42 +1.02%
Electricity 8,798.48 +0.97%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Alternative Energy 0.00 0.00%
Alternative Investment Instruments NULL 0.00%
Automobiles and related providers NULL 0.00%
Banking NULL 0.00%
Beverages NULL 0.00%