European Close Market Briefing – 12/12/2017 – by Arjun Lakhanpal

December 12, 2017 by

In European Equity Markets stocks closed in the green Tuesday, with smart-card maker Gemalto NV and retail giant Steinhoff Holdings NV scoring notable gains. The Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed 0.7 percent to end at 391.63.  Shares of smart-card maker Gemalto rose 35 percent for the Stoxx Europe 600’s biggest gain as the company reviewed an unsolicited takeover bid of €4.3 billion euro ($5.1 billion) by French information-technology company Atos SE. Steinhoff shares rallied 28 percent for the Stoxx 600’s second-largest advance, with the company behind Mattress Firm and Poundland saying it is enlisted more outside advisers to aid in its accounting crisis.

In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar rose to three-week highs against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting where it is widely expected to raise interest rates for the fifth time since 2015. The dollar index gained to 94.10, the highest since Nov. 21. The greenback rose more than 1 percent last week, its biggest weekly rise since the end of October, but is down around 8 percent this year. The euro traded at $1.1722, down from $1.1771 late Monday. The British pound  pared its gains and was down to $1.3324 against the buck from $1.3339.  The kiwi was last up 0.41 percent against the U.S. dollar at $0.69.

In Commodities Markets  oil prices fell on Tuesday, retreating after an early rise to a two-year high when the United Kingdom’s biggest North Sea oil pipeline was shut, crimping the flow of global benchmark Brent crude. Brent crude was down 67 cents at $64.02. Earlier in the session, Brent rose above $65 a barrel for the first time since June 2015. U.S. crude was at $57.47, down 51 cents. The WTI-Brent spread widened out to as much as $7, the highest in more than two years, then narrowed to $6.50.   Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,239.93 an ounce and silver rose 0.4 percent to $15.77 an ounce. Platinum fell for its eight straight session, down 1 percent at $876 ounce. Palladium was 0.3 percent lower at $1,007.12 an ounce.

In US Equity Markets  the S&P and the Dow hit record levels in early afternoon trading on Tuesday as Boeing rose and bank stocks gained ahead of a near certain move by the Fed to raise interest rate. The Dow was up 0.57 percent, at 24,525.73, the S&P 500 was up 0.28 percent, at 2,667.54 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.02 percent, at 6,876.70. Boeing rose as much as 3.4 percent to $292.8 after the company said it would raise its quarterly dividend by 20 percent and replace its existing share buyback program with a new $18 billion authorization. Comcast shares rose about 1.94 percent after the company abandoned its bid for most of the assets of Twenty-First Century Fox, leaving Walt Disney as the sole suitor of the $40 billion-plus deal.

In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose on Tuesday as investors reduced their debt holdings in advance of a $12 billion auction of 30-year government bonds and after stronger-than-forecast data on producer prices in November. The 10-year Treasury yield was 2.410 percent, up 3 basis points from late on Monday, while the 30-year yield rose 3 basis points to 2.800 percent. Two-year yields were up more than 2 basis points at 1.847 percent, which was the highest since October 2008.