In European Equity Markets financials drove stocks higher on Thursday, shrugging off weakness among oil majors as investors eyed the OPEC meeting later in the day, and unease in tech as worries of a peak spread to Europe. Euro zone stocks .STOXXE and blue-chips rose 0.5 percent while Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent in its second day of losses as sterling rose, denting its internationally-exposed constituents. On Thursday strong banking stocks, led by Credit Suisse after it hiked its payout ratio targets, underpinned the market, with Italian banks Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo also driving gains. Exchange operator Euronext meanwhile led gains, up 3 percent after acquiring the Irish Stock Exchange for 137 million euros.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell to a four-day low against the euro and was generally softer against most other major currencies, as its rebound after last week’s weakness ran out of steam and month-end adjustments created selling pressure. The euro rose 0.62 percent against the greenback to $1.1921. The British pound strengthened on hopes Britain is close to a deal with the European Union over the Northern Ireland border. Sterling was up 0.9 percent to $1.3527. The Japanese yen weakened 0.46 percent versus the greenback at 112.45 per dollar. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rival currencies, was down 0.37 percent at 92.822, having erased nearly all of this week’s gains.
In Commodities Markets oil was mixed on Thursday after OPEC members agreed to extend curbs on output to the end of next year at a meeting in Vienna, though a final deal hinged on the decision of non-OPEC producers, expected toward the end of the day. The most active February Brent contract was trading up 0.3 percent, at $62.37 a barrel. U.S. light crude for February delivery was at $57.21 a barrel, up 0.3 percent. U.S. oil production hit a new record of 9.68 million barrels per day last week, according to government data released on Wednesday. Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,280.10 an ounce. Silver touched an eight-week low of $16.36 an ounce and was last down 0.8 percent at $16.40.
In US Equity Markets the Dow Jones Industrial Average pierced through the 24,000 mark for the first time on Thursday and the other indexes rallied on strong indications that President Donald Trump’s tax-cut plan may get enough support for passage. The Dow Jones Industrial average was up 0.61 percent, at 24,085.59 and the S&P 500 was up 0.44 percent, at 2,637.72. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.54 percent to 6,861.25. The S&P energy index’s more than 1 percent rise led the advancers after OPEC agreed to extend oil production cuts until the end of 2018. Kroger was the biggest S&P gainer, rising about 10 percent after the supermarket chain forecast upbeat same-store sales for the holiday quarter and reported higher-than-expected results.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields drifted higher on Thursday after U.S. data showed a rise in inflation and a decline in initial jobless claims, reinforcing expectations of an interest rate increase next month and several more in 2018. In late morning trading, the 10-year Treasury yield was up at 2.386 percent, from 2.376 percent late on Wednesday. U.S. 30-year bond yields were up at 2.826 percent from Wednesday’s 2.817 percent. U.S. two-year yields, which hit a nine-year peak last week, were at 1.766 percent from 1.762 percent on Wednesday.