In European Equity Markets stocks hit their highest level in 15 months on Thursday after the Fed signalled no pick-up in the pace of monetary tightening and centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte won elections in the Netherlands. The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended up 0.7 percent at 377.73, after touching 377.76, its highest level since December 2015. Amsterdam’s AEX index hit its highest level in more than nine years, also rising 0.6 percent, while both Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 hit their highest levels since mid-2015. Dutch PM Rutte fought off the challenge of anti-Islam and anti-EU rival Geert Wilders to score an election victory that was hailed across Europe by governments facing a rising wave of nationalism.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell to a five-week low against a basket of currencies on Thursday, still reeling from the previous session, when a statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve statement failed to signal a much faster pace of monetary policy tightening. In late morning trading, the dollar index fell 0.3 percent to 100.40. Against the yen, the dollar was down 0.1 percent at 113.29, after earlier falling to a two-week trough. The euro rose to a five-week high against the greenback, and was last at $1.0737, up 0.1 percent. Sterling, meanwhile, rose on some surprise hints about the chances of a rise in UK interest rates. The pound was last up 0.6 percent at $1.2360.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Thursday, as support from a weaker dollar was offset by a stubbornly high level of U.S. inventories near record levels that suggested OPEC-led output cuts were starting to drain supplies. Brent crude was 9 cents lower at $51.72 a barrel, recovering from Tuesday’s fall to $50.25, its lowest since Nov. 30 when OPEC announced its supply accord. U.S. light crude was down 14 cents at $48.72 a barrel, still above the three-month low hit on Tuesday. Spot gold had gained 0.9 percent to $1,229.31 per ounce and spot silver rose 0.4 percent to $17.36 per ounce. Platinum climbed 1.1 percent to $959.90 per ounce, while palladium gained 0.8 percent to $768.90 per ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks fell on Thursday pressured by healthcare shares after proposals in President Donald Trump’s budget signaled higher regulatory costs for the sector and a cut in federal funding for medical research. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.06 percent, at 20,937.01, the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent, at 2,382.41 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.03 percent, at 5,901.75. Shares of Tesla rose 2.8 percent after the electric carmaker said it would raise about $1.15 billion as the company speeds up the launch of its Model 3 sedan. Oracle rose to a record high of $46.99 and supported the S&P after the business software maker issued a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday from more than one-week lows on the view that they had fallen too sharply in the prior session after the Federal Reserve maintained its outlook for only a gradual pace of interest rate increases this year. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last down 7/32 in price, with yields rising to 2.531 percent from 2.504 percent late on Wednesday. U.S. 30-year bonds fell 25/32 in price, and yields rose to 3.143 percent from 3.102 percent.