US stocks dip on unimpressive Q4 growth; gold tumbles
US stocks fell after upwardly revised fourth-quarter growth data failed to impress investors and worries over Ukraine lingered, while gold tumbled to a six-week low on expectations US interest rates might rise sooner than thought.
Wall Street derived little comfort from the final revision to fourth-quarter growth and a decline in weekly jobless claims to a four-month low. The US Commerce Department said gross domestic product expanded at a 2.6 percent annual pace, below the 2.7 percent pace expected by analysts.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 4.76 points or 0.03 percent, to end at 16,264.23. The S&P 500 lost 3.52 points or 0.19 percent, to close at 1,849.04. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 22.346 points or 0.54 percent, to finish at 4,151.232.
At the close, the S&P 500 was up just a fraction of a point for the year.
The euro hit a three-week bottom against the dollar as speculation rose that the European Central Bank might ease monetary policy further. Peripheral European government bond yields hit a multi-year trough.
In global equities trading, the MSCI world equity index edged up 0.01 percent, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index gained 0.22 percent.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also inched up by 0.1 percent to 3,133.75 points.
Investors also remained concerned over the prolonged conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. The United States and the European Union on Wednesday agreed to prepare possibly tougher economic sanctions in response to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory.
Gold's spot price broke below the psychological support level of $1,300 an ounce as traders watched for clues on US rate hikes. The improved US growth figures diminishes metal's appeal as a hedge. While Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week that rates could start rising by early next year, the gold market is reacting to the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
In US Treasuries trading, yields on 30-year US bonds fell to 3.51 percent to hit their lowest level since July. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note was up 8/32 in price, its yield at 2.672 percent.
The dollar edged higher against the euro and the yen after the US economic data.
Investors had bought the dollar last week after Yellen suggested the possibility of the Fed raising interest rates early next year, or about six months after its bond-buying program ends.
In Europe, the focus was on whether the ECB might act to bolster a slow economic recovery.
Emerging market stocks were steady while Ukraine's sovereign government bonds rose after the International Monetary Fund said it had agreed to a $14 billion to $18 billion bailout for the country.