In European Equity Markets another wobble in commodity-related shares and dollar earners put pressure on British blue chips on Friday, underscoring their underperformance against continental European peers a year on from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent at its close and the pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.2 percent as falls among financials, pharma firms and energy shares weighed. Insurer NN Group was the biggest faller, down nearly 4 percent after Dutch watchdog KiFid said that the firm must compensate one its clients in a mis-selling case. British broadcaster ITV rose more than 3 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded it to “buy”, citing its attractive valuation.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell against a basket of major currencies on Friday, on track for its biggest single-day decline in three weeks, on persistent doubts whether the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates again this year due to softening inflation data. The euro was up 0.45 percent at $1.1200, while the greenback fell to 111.22 yen. Sterling rose for a third consecutive day following a speech by soon-to-depart Bank of England policymaker Kristin Forbes, who late Thursday urged hiking U.K. rates immediately to stem a weaker pound. The pound gained 0.4 percent at $1.2728. The Australian dollar was up 0.5 percent at $0.7578, while the New Zealand dollar was up 0.4 percent at $0.7291.
In Commodities Markets oil futures climbed almost 1 percent on Friday on lift from a falling dollar but remained down for a fifth week in a row and close to a 10-month low as OPEC-led production cuts have failed to substantially reduce a global crude glut. Brent futures were up 0.9 percent at $45.62 a barrel, pushing the front-month out of technically oversold territory for the first time this week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.9 percent, at $43.11 per barrel. Spot gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,257.1 an ounce after earlier touching a session high at $1,258.81. Elsewhere, silver gained 1.1 percent to $16.71 an ounce, platinum climbed 0.3 percent to $924.2 an ounce and palladium rose 0.8 percent to $877.2.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher in late morning trading on Friday as technology shares rose and oil prices rebounded from multi-month lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average index was up 0.07 percent, at 21,411.38, and the S&P 500 was up 0.19 percent, at 2,439.05. The Nasdaq Composite index was up 0.22 percent, at 6,250.21. Among the laggards was the healthcare index, down 0.33 percent and the top decliner among the S&P subsectors. Blackberry’s U.S.-listed shares were down 11.8 percent after the company’s quarterly sales missed analysts’ estimate. Bed Bath & Beyond shares touched record low as the company reported a bigger-than-expected fall in same-store sales in the first quarter.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasuries yields edged higher on Friday as investors waited on Federal Reserve speakers for any new indications on when the U.S. central bank is likely to next raise interest rates, after inflation concerns this week sent the yield curve to almost 10-year lows. Benchmark 10-year notes were down 4/32 in price to yield 2.17 percent, up from 2.15 percent on late Thursday.