Saturday, 5 April 2014

US stocks fall as valuation hits previous peak

US stocks fell on Friday, with the NASDAQ in particular falling 2.6 percent. The S&P 500 fell 1.3 percent.

Stocks declined despite a good US employment report for March. The Labor Department reported on Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 192,000 jobs last month after rising by 197,000 in February, with the private sector accounting for all the new jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent.

In any case, the stock market's valuation may be getting stretched. According to JP Morgan, the S&P 500's forward P/E ratio hit 15.2 on 31 March, the same as at the last peak in 2007.

Earlier on Friday, stocks in Europe had closed at a six-year high. The STOXX Europe 600 rose 0.6 percent to 339.18, its highest level since January 2008.

A report on Friday showed that German factory orders rose 0.6 percent in February. However, the growth in January was revised lower to 0.1 percent from 1.2 percent.

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