In European Equity Markets stocks edged higher on Friday, though weaker auto stocks euro zone banks weighed. The Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed 0.7 percent to end at 377.73. The euro zone bank index rose as much as 1.4 percent before paring gains and ended the session down 0.1 percent, weighed by losses in Erste Group Bank, ABN AMRO Group and Deutsche Bank, which all fell between 1.5 percent to 1.9 percent. Autos also fell, falling 0.5 percent. Top fallers in the auto sector included German carmakers Porsche, Volkswagen and BMW, down between 0.9 percent and 1.9 percent. Tullow Oil lost 14.7 percent after the British oil services company announced a 607 million pound share sale to reduce its debt.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell to a five-week low on Friday, remaining under pressure for a third straight session after the Federal Reserve quashed hopes for a further bull run in the currency by keeping a gradual pace to its monetary tightening policy. Against the yen, the dollar fell to a two-week low and last traded down 0.5 percent at 112.74 yen. The Australian and New Zealand dollars remained stronger, with Aussie up 0.23 percent at $0.7694 and with Kiwi gaining 0.30 percent to $0.7007. Sterling held steady at $1.2364, off an earlier two-week peak of $1.2399. The dollar index was up 0.11 percent at 100.19, still close to a five-week low of 99.97 hit earlier in the day.
In Commodities Markets oil prices were largely steady on Friday, and looked set to finish the week with modest gains after losing almost 10 percent last week on concerns that an OPEC production cut was failing to reduce a global supply overhang. Brent crude edged down 1 cent to $51.73 a barrel while U.S. light crude was unchanged at $48.75 a barrel. Both benchmarks were on track for gains of about 20-30 cents for the week. The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.0751 After two days of gains against the dollar. Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,230.46 an ounce, taking this week’s gain to 2.2 percent. Silver was up 0.4 percent at $17.35 an ounce, while platinum gained 0.4 percent to $957.75 and palladium advanced 1.5 percent to $775.60.
In US Equity Markets stocks were little changed on Friday as a slide in Amgen dragged down the healthcare sector, offsetting gains in technology stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.06 percent, at 20,947.84, the S&P 500 was up 0.05 percent, at 2,382.63 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.03 percent, at 5,899.18. The S&P 500 healthcare sector was off 0.4 percent, dragged down by a 6.3 percent decrease in Amgen. Analysts said data from a large study testing the impact of Amgen’s cholesterol drug on the heart was weaker than expected.Tiffany’s shares rose 3 percent after the company posted a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, boosted by strong demand for its high-end jewelry in Japan and China.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields edged lower on Friday after data showing low inflation in March suggested that the Federal Reserve could aim for a slower pace of interest rate hikes this year than it had forecast on Wednesday. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last up 7/32 in price to yield 2.499 percent, from a yield of 2.524 percent late Thursday. Yields on other Treasuries maturing between two and 30 years were also set to post their biggest weekly decline in three weeks, with two-year yields last on track to fall about five basis points for the week.