In European Equity Markets stocks inched up on Wednesday, steadying around 16 month highs, helped by gains in Syngenta and a rally in defence stocks on investor concerns about lingering geopolitical risks. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2 percent but trading was choppy just a few days ahead a holiday break, while Germany’s DAX added 0.1 percent and France’s CAC was flat. Syngenta was up 2.2 percent, after ChemChina’s $43 billion planned takeover of the Swiss pesticides and seeds group received approval from Chinese regulators. German luxury carmaker Daimler gained 0.3 percent after it said first-quarter profits jumped 87 percent on strong Mercedes sales.
In Currency Markets the dollar was little changed on Wednesday after falling to a nearly five-month low against the Japanese yen as worries over geopolitical tensions checked investors’ risk appetite. The yen gained more than 1 percent on Tuesday, its biggest one-day rise in three months against the dollar, with the greenback falling below 110 yen for the first time since mid-November. The pound was the largest gainer against the dollar among major currencies on Wednesday, adding 0.25 percent after data showed stronger-than-expected UK wage growth. Sterling also rose modestly against the euro. The euro traded at $1.0602, down 0.02 percent. The dollar index fell to 100.55, its lowest in five days.
In Commodities Markets oil futures turned negative on Wednesday, pulling back after eight straight sessions of gains after U.S. crude inventory data suggested that the market was still heavily supplied. The data did show an unexpected decline in overall U.S. crude inventories, which fell in the week by 2.2 million barrels as imports declined by 717,000 barrels a day. Brent crude futures were down 17 cents at $56.06 a barrel, having touched a one-month high of $56.65. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 13 cents at $53.27 a barrel. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,274.54 per ounce. Spot silver was unchanged at $18.31 an ounce. Platinum fell 0.6 percent to $961.24, while palladium fell 1.5 percent to $790.
In US Equity Markets stocks edged lower on Wednesday as investors assessed uncertainty stemming from rising geopolitical tensions and the upcoming corporate earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.26 percent, at 20,598.4, the S&P 500 was down 0.31 percent, at 2,346.51 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.33 percent, at 5,847.32. Financials were the worst hit on Wednesday. The S&P 500 financial index lost 0.91 percent, setting it up to post the fourth straight day of decline. Chipmaker Qualcomm was down 2.8 percent after it was asked to refund Canada’s BlackBerry $814.9 million in an arbitration settlement. Delta Air Lines was up 3.5 percent, boosted by a quarterly profit beat.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields were little changed on Wednesday as safe-haven demand tied to international political worries offset investor selling ahead of a 30-year bond auction. U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were little changed at 2.300 percent. The 30-year bond yield was flat at 2.933 percent after falling to 2.915 percent earlier Wednesday, which was the lowest since Jan. 17.