In Asian Equity Markets stocks retreated on Thursday, taking their cues from a subdued session on Wall Street, while the dollar retained gains made after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish policy statement. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan slid 0.5 percent on Thursday, dragged lower by commodities, energy and financials stocks. Japan is closed for the Golden Week holiday. Chinese stocks were down 0.3 percent, after growth in China’s services sector cooled to its slowest in almost a year in April as fears of slower economic growth dented business confidence. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent. Australian stocks were 0.3 percent lower.
In Currency Markets the dollar hit a six-week high against the yen on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth and was seen as leaving the door open to raising interest rates in June. The dollar rose to 112.89 yen earlier on Thursday, its strongest level in more than six weeks. It later pared those gains and last traded at 112.76 yen, little changed from late U.S. trade on Wednesday. The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.0895, regaining a bit of ground after falling 0.4 percent on Wednesday. The Australian dollar touched its lowest level in nearly four months at $0.7407. It was last trading at $0.7423, little changed on the day.
In Commodities Markets crude oil lost ground on Thursday, falling for a third out of four sessions and trading near its lowest since late March after data showed a lower than expected decline in U.S. inventories. The benchmark Brent crude oil fell 0.3 percent, to $50.64 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 0.3 percent, to $47.68 a barrel. Crude inventories fell by 930,000 barrels in the week to April 28, much less than analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels. Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,240.51 per ounce. Spot silver rose 0.9 percent to $16.53, after hitting $16.37 on Wednesday, it lowest since early January. Platinum was up 0.9 percent at $900.40 and palladium fell 0.4 percent to $796.
In US Equity Markets stocks ended slightly lower on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged and investors digested another heavy round of earnings reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.04 percent, to 20,957.9. The S&P 500 lost 0.13 percent, to 2,388.13 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.37 percent, to 6,072.55. The New York Times Co rose 12.6 percent after the newspaper publisher reported its biggest quarterly revenue growth in six years. After the close, Facebook Inc reported a 76.6-percent rise in quarterly profit, fueled by its mobile ad business. Apple shares fell 0.3 percent but recovering from steeper losses after the company’s quarterly report, in which it reported a surprise fall in iPhone sales.
In Bond Markets benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth, keeping a rate increase in June on the table. Benchmark 10-year notes fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.31 percent, up from 2.30 percent on Tuesday. Thirty-year bonds gained 15/32 in price to yield 2.96 percent, down from 2.98 percent on Tuesday.
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