In European Equity Markets stocks finished higher on Friday, but shares of some supermarket chains were hit hard after Amazon.com Inc. unexpectedly said it’s scooping up Whole Foods Market Inc. in a nearly $14 billion deal. The Stoxx Europe 600 closed up 0.7 percent at 388.60 after two sessions of losses. Tesco PLC shares lost 4.9 percent in a volatile session for the U.K.’s largest supermarket chain after it reported first quarter sales growth. Shares earlier in the session had been up by more than 4 percent. Germany’s DAX 30 rose 0.5 percent to 12,752.73. Auto makers BMW AG and Daimler AG had been higher after a report that new car sales in the European Union rose 7.6 percent in May.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Friday on weaker-than-forecast data on housing and consumer sentiment, while the yen weakened after the Bank of Japan kept interest rates steady and signaled it was in no hurry to tighten policy. The yen was about half a percent lower to 111.41 per dollar in London before rebounding to 110.80 yen in later New York trading. The euro was up 0.3 percent to 123.97 yen after touching a near two-week high at 124.45 yen earlier Friday. The common currency was up 0.4 percent at $1.1191, but about a cent below a seven-month peak of $1.1296 hit before the Fed’s widely expected rate hike on Wednesday. The dollar index was down 0.3 percent at 97.126.
In Commodities Markets oil prices edged up on Friday from 2017 lows as some producers cut back on exports, but the market was poised for a fourth week of losses as OPEC-led production cuts failed to allay concerns over global oversupply. Brent crude futures rose 31 cents to $47.23 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $44.63 per barrel, up 17 cents. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,254.66 an ounce, having earlier hit $1,251.05, its lowest since May 24. In other precious metals, silver was 0.3 down at $16.66 an ounce and heading for a weekly decline of about 2.9 percent. Platinum gained 0.1 percent to $921 an ounce and palladium was down 0.8 percent at $862.75.
In US Equity Markets stocks fell on Friday as Wal-Mart and other retailers were slammed by Amazon.com’s biggest foray into the brick-and-mortar retail sector with its $13.7 billion deal to buy upscale grocer Whole Foods. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.17 percent, at 21,324.32, the S&P 500 was down 0.31 percent, at 2,424.98 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.52 percent, at 6,133.50. Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. Amazon shares were up 3.2 percent, while Whole Foods rose 27 percent. Wal-Mart lost 6.2 percent even as the big box retailer strengthened its ecommerce presence by buying online men’s fashion retailer Bonobos for $310 million on Friday.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields edged lower on Friday, with all maturities on track for weekly declines, after weaker-than-expected U.S. housing data fueled doubts that the Federal Reserve will be able to raise interest rates again this year. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last up 2/32 in price to yield 2.153 percent, compared with 2.162 percent late Thursday. Two-year Treasuries were last up 2/32 in price to yield 1.319 percent, compared with 1.355 percent late Thursday.