In European Equity Markets stocks rose on Friday, with gains underpinned by a rally among banks, energy stocks as well as BT as attention turned to closely-watched U.S. jobs data due later in the day. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.4 percent, set for its third straight session of gains. The index was on track to post a slight loss for the week. The STOXX banking index also gained 1.1 percent and was the top sectoral performer. Banco BPM, Bank of Ireland and UniCredit were among top gainers. BT was among top STOXX gainers, with the British telecoms group rising more than 4 percent after reaching a deal with regulator Ofcom to legally separate its Openreach network division.
In Currency Markets the euro jumped to a fresh three-week high against the dollar on Friday on a report that the European Central Bank had discussed the possibility of raising interest rates before the end of its quantitative easing programme. The euro rose as high as $1.0670 against the dollar, its strongest since Feb 17. It was last at $1.0660, up 0.8 percent. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was almost unchanged at 114.93 yen. The Australian and New Zealand dollars remained stronger, with Aussie up 0.45 percent at $0.7540 and with Kiwi gaining 0.36 percent to $0.6926. The pound was little changed at $1.2160. The dollar index was down 0.34 percent at 101.63, the lowest since March 7.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell for a third day on Friday, extending a selloff on heightened worries that OPEC-led production cuts have not yet reduced a global glut of crude. U.S. crude fell 0.4 percent, to $49.05 a barrel. Brent crude oil was down 27 cents at $51.92 a barrel. U.S. crude is on track for a fall of more than 7 percent this week, its biggest weekly fall for five months. Crude inventories in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer, swelled by 8.2 million barrels last week to a record 528.4 million barrels. Spot gold was little changed at $1,200.70 an ounce and silver was down 0.1 percent at $16.93 an ounce. Palladium was down 0.5 percent at $750.35 an ounce and platinum was up 0.3 percent at $934.55.
In US Equity Markets stocks rose on Friday after a solid jobs report underscored the strength of the labor market and set the stage for the first interest rate hike this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 percent, at 20,879.82, the S&P 500 was up 0.26 percent, at 2,370.98 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.36 percent, at 5,859.66. AbbVie rose 2.5 percent and provided the biggest boost to the S&P after Goldman Sachs issued an upbeat report on the drugmaker. Finisar Corp, was the biggest percentage loser on the Nasdaq, with a 19 percent decline after the network equipment maker gave disappointing revenue and profit forecasts for the current quarter.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell on Friday with benchmark yields receding from 12-week highs after data on domestic hiring last month came in stronger than consensus forecasts but fell short of the most optimistic views. In choppy trading, benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were last at 2.593 percent, down 0.5 basis points from late on Thursday after rising to 2.624 percent earlier on Friday. The two-year yield was down nearly 1 basis point at 1.364 percent. Germany’s 10-year bond yield climbed 7 basis points to a five-week high of 0.496 percent, within striking distance of a peak hit in January.