European Close Market Briefing – 23/10/2017 – by Arjun Lakhanpal

October 23, 2017 by

In European Equity Markets stocks were flat on Monday with banks weighing and Madrid’s bourse lagging its peers as Catalonia’s political crisis deepened. The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.1 percent while Spain’s benchmark IBEX fell 0.5 percent, with banks – including BBVA down 1.4 pct and Banco Santander down 1.3 percent – taking most points off the index. Dutch healthcare technology company Philips was flat after its core profits in the third quarter rose 12 percent to 532 million euros, as strong growth in China pushed comparable sales up 4 percent. German consumer goods group Henkel was trading down 0.1 percent after it said it was considering expanding its business in the United States via acquisitions.

In Currency Markets the dollar touched a three-month high against the yen on Monday, as investors bet the overwhelming election victory for Japan’s ruling party would mean a continuation of “Abenomics,” the ultra-loose policies that have kept downward pressure on the yen. The dollar gained as much as half a percent to 114.10 yen, its strongest since July 11. The euro fell 0.3 percent at $1.1751, holding below a 2-1/2-year peak of $1.2092 reached on Sept. 8, on anxiety about Madrid’s handling of civil unrest in Catalonia following a referendum on the region’s independence on Oct. 1. The dollar index was last up 0.15 percent at 93.839.

In Commodities Markets  oil prices were little changed on Monday as supply disruptions in Iraq dented exports out of OPEC’s second largest producer and amid signs of a decline in U.S. drilling rates. Brent crude was trading at $57.39 a barrel, down 36 cents. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 1 cent at $51.83 a barrel. The number of U.S. rigs drilling for new oil fell by seven to 736 in the week to Oct. 20, the lowest level since June, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.  Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,274.03 an ounce, having touched its lowest since Oct. 6 at $1,271.86. Silver was down 0.6 percent to $16.90 an ounce, while platinum was 1 percent lower at $910.74 and palladium was down 1.4 percent at $961.

In US Equity Markets the main indexes hovered at record levels on Monday as investors cheered the continuation of “Abenomics” following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s emphatic win in the weekend polls. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.08 percent, at 23,347.38, the S&P 500 was up 0.04 percent, at 2,576.36 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.07 percent, at 6,633.65. Six of the 11 major S&P indexes were higher, led by gains in materials index. General Electric lost 3.38 percent after a slew of price target cuts, citing higher probability of a dividend cut. T-Mobile gained 1.19 percent after the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier’s profit topped estimates on subscription growth.

In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury prices rose on Monday in thin volume, tracking gains in the European bond market, as investors added to positions after a sell-off the last few days and ahead of this week’s debt auctions and a European Central Bank monetary policy meeting. In late morning trading, 10-year U.S. Treasury note prices were up 3/32, yielding 2.370 percent, down from Friday’s 2.381 percent. The 30-year bond prices rose 8/32, with a yield of 2.880 percent, down from 2.894 percent last Friday.