In European Equity Markets stocks ended slightly higher on Thursday, with banks seeing a volatile session as dovish comments from ECB chief Mario Draghi triggered talk over the outlook for monetary policy in the region. The STOXX 600 index reversed losses to end 0.2 percent higher, while Britain’s FTSE lagged and Germany’s DAX gained 0.1 percent. Among euro zone banks, the top two fallers were Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank and Germany’s Commerzbank, down 1.1 percent and 0.8 percent respectively. AstraZeneca fell 1.3 percent after a UBS downgrade to neutral, while German airport operator Fraport rose 4.4 percent with traders linking the rise to an upgrade to “buy” from Societe Generale.
In Currency Markets the dollar was slightly higher on Thursday as investors were hesitant to make big bets ahead of a two-day summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, a meeting that could have geopolitical ramifications. In mid-morning trading, the dollar index was up 0.1 percent at 100.64. The greenback also rose 0.1 percent versus the yen at 110.83. The euro, meanwhile, was little changed at $1.0660, erasing losses which took it to a three-week low following European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comments saying he saw no need for now to deviate from the ECB’s policy path. Sterling traded mostly flat at $1.2481, after falling to a session low of $1.2451.
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose nearly 1 percent on Thursday, on track for a fourth straight day of gains, but analysts remained cautious about record-high U.S. crude inventories. Brent crude futures gained 0.8 percent, to $54.80 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.9 percent, or 47 cents a barrel to $51.60. Gold edged lower on Thursday, pressured by a firmer dollar on the back of upbeat U.S. unemployment data and as some investors sold to redeem profits after bullion’s recent advance. Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,252.34 per ounce, while spot silver fell 0.3 percent to $18.21 an ounce. Platinum fell 0.8 percent to $951.50, while palladium gave up 0.5 percent to $801.33.
In US Equity Markets stocks rose on Thursday, led by energy companies and a rebound in financials, but gains were kept in check by cautious trading ahead of the Trump-Xi meeting and on uncertainty about quick U.S. fiscal stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.23 percent, at 20,695.32, the S&P 500 was up 0.25 percent, at 2,358.81 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.25 percent, at 5,879.06. Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by the energy index’s 0.8 percent rise following higher oil prices. L Brands jumped 10.4 percent after reporting a smaller-than-expected decrease in March sales. AMD sank nearly 8 percent after Goldman Sachs started overage with a “sell” rating.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields were little changed on Thursday amid uncertainty ahead of a key U.S. jobs report Friday, a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and over the fate of Trump’s pro-growth agenda. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last up 1/32 in price to yield 2.353 percent, from a yield of 2.357 percent late Wednesday. U.S. 30-year Treasury bonds were last down 3/32 in price to yield 3.009 percent, from a yield of 3.005 percent late Wednesday.