In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index rose on Thursday, taking back some ground lost in the previous session as investors sought bargains after the benchmark index skidded its most in 8-1/2 months The Nikkei ended morning trade up 1.27 percent, or 280.70 points, at 22,457.74. The broader Topix rose 1.1 percent to 1,785.26, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 1.1 percent to 15,816.14. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was barely changed. In Greater China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.59 percent and the Hang Seng Index eased 0.01 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar edged up against peers on Thursday, shaking off earlier losses versus the yen, supported by signs that investors’ risk appetites were improving again and by optimism on U.S. tax reforms. The greenback was 0.1 percent higher at 112.380 yen after falling by 0.25 percent overnight. The euro was steady at $1.1803 after falling 0.25 percent overnight, when it hit a two-week low of $1.1780. The loonie was effectively flat at C$0.9895 per dollar after retreating 0.8 percent the previous day. The Aussie was 0.2 percent lower at $0.7548, while the kiwi last traded at $0.6859, down 0.3 percent on the day. The dollar index was little changed at 93.543 after rising to 93.650 overnight, its highest since Nov. 22.
In Commodities Markets oil prices inched higher on Thursday after a data report showed a decrease in U.S. crude inventories, but rising gasoline stocks and crude production weighed on the market. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $56.18 a barrel, up 0.4 percent from their last settlement. Brent crude futures were at $61.49 a barrel, up 0.44 percent. Traders said the higher prices came as U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 5.6 million barrels in the week to Dec. 1, to 448.1 million barrels, putting stocks below seasonal levels in 2015 and 2016. Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,263.21 an ounce and silver fell 0.1 percent to $15.95 an ounce. Copper traded at $6,578 a tonne, up 0.4 percent for the day.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 fell a tiny bit on Wednesday, with Microsoft and other technology stocks making modest gains but not quite offsetting losses in energy shares after oil prices fell more than 2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.16 percent at 24,140.91 while the S&P 500 lost 0.01 percent to 2,629.27. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.21 percent to 6,776.38. Shares of Microsoft, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet rose more than 1 percent as the technology sector recovered from a recent selloff. Home Depot fell 1.12 percent after the home improvement retailer announced a $15 billion share repurchase plan. H&R Block rose 10.27 percent after the tax preparation service provider reported better-than-expected revenue.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices edged down on Thursday as risk aversion eased and dulled investor demand for safe-haven debt. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield rose half a basis point to 0.055 percent. The 20-year yield was also half a basis point higher at 0.580 percent. The super-long JGB sector fared better thanks to a well-received 30-year bond auction. The 30-year yield fell 0.5 basis point to 0.830 percent following the strong auction results.
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