In European Equity Markets stocks powered ahead on Thursday as earnings, economic data and politics aligned to boost the market to further highs. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7 percent, holding at 20-month highs, while German blue chips rose to an all-time high and France’s CAC climbed to its highest in more than nine years. European banks rose 1.5 percent after lender HSBC jumped 2.9 percent, having posted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit and capital position. Results also boosted shares in brewer AB InBev and Austrian engineer Andritz, Italy’s Leonardo and Ferrari, which were among top gainers in Europe. British retailer Next was down 5.1 percent after cutting the top end of its full-year profit guidance.
In Currency Markets the euro hit its highest level in roughly six months against the U.S. dollar on Thursday as traders looked beyond the French elections to the potential for the European Central Bank to signal further reduction in bond-buying, while the greenback was steady against the yen. The euro jumped to $1.0953, its highest since Nov. 10, 2016. The dollar was little changed against the safe-haven yen after touching a nearly seven-week highof 113.04 yen earlier in the U.S. trading session. The Aussie hit a nearly four-month low of $0.7383, while the kiwi hit its lowest since June 2016 of $0.6840. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was last down 0.2 percent at 98.979.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Thursday to their lowest since late November as investor worries about the world’s stubbornly persistent glut of crude erased most of the gains that followed last year’s OPEC’s output cut. U.S. crude fell 4.1 percent to $45.89 per barrel. Brent was down 3.9 percent to $48.83. Weekly U.S. government data on Wednesday showed crude stocks fell 930,000 barrels, less than half the 2.3 million barrel decrease analysts had expected. Spot gold was down 1 percent at $1,225.56 an ounce and silver lost 1.2 percent to $16.20. Platinum gained 0.4 percent to $895.4, after touching $889.10, its lowest since December. Palladium fell by 1.3 percent to $789.20.
In US Equity Markets stocks were lower in early afternoon trading on Thursday as a steep fall in crude oil prices weighed on energy shares and with healthcare stocks in focus ahead of a cliffhanger vote on repealing Obamacare. The Dow was down 0.23 percent, at 20,908.82. The S&P 500 was down 0.09 percent, at 2,385.97 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.08 percent, at 6,067.45. Tesla was down 4.7 percent to after the electric-car maker posted a bigger-than-expected loss. Viacom fell 5.4 percent on a softening advertisement market and news that Charter Communications has re-tiered five of Viacom’s flagship networks. Regeneron rose 5.7 percent after the biotech company’s revenue edged past analysts’ estimates.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday after jobs data showed continued improvement in the domestic labor market, helping boost expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in June. Benchmark 10-year notes fell 14/32 in price to yield 2.36 percent, their highest since April 10, and up from 2.31 percent late on Wednesday.