In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index rose on Wednesday in choppy trade, edging closer to a 21-year high supported by buying in defensive stocks, while Kobe Steel extended its losses after confirming a media report that it fabricated data in iron power products. The Nikkei rose 0.3 percent to 20,878.07 in midmorning trade after opening a tad lower. The broader Topix rose 0.1 percent to 1,697.13. The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan climbed 0.5 percent to 546.38, a level not seen since December 2007. Australian stocks jumped to 1-1/2 month highs while South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.6 percent to within a whisker of record peaks.
In Currency Markets speculation that President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul plan would stall kept the dollar below a recent 10-week peak against major currencies on Wednesday, and the euro held near a 12-day high as political tensions over Catalonia receded slightly. The euro was flat at $1.1808 after touching $1.1828, its highest since Sept. 29, thanks partly to upbeat euro zone economic indicators that have helped it rally from a seven-week low of $1.1669 on Friday. The dollar was effectively unchanged at 112.470 yen after falling to as low as 111.990 overnight. The Australian dollar was steady at $0.7781 and the New Zealand dollar was 0.1 percent higher at $0.7077 after a brief foray to $0.7099.
In Commodities Markets oil prices edged up on Wednesday, rising for a third day, on signs that markets are gradually tightening after years of oversupply, although the outlook for 2018 remained less certain. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $51.06 per barrel, up 0.3 percent, from their last settlement. Brent crude futures were at $56.69, up 0.1 percent, from their last close. U.S. gold futures for December delivery eased 0.3 percent to $1,290 per ounce. Silver rose 0.2 percent to $17.11 an ounce, having hit a three-week high in the previous session. Platinum was up 0.2 percent at $931.10 an ounce and palladium was trading 0.3 percent higher at $935.85 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high on Tuesday, helped by a rise in Wal-Mart Stores, while Amazon and Facebook lost ground and investors focused on upcoming quarterly reports. The Dow rose 0.31 percent to 22,830.68 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.23 percent to 2,550.64 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.11 percent to 6,587.25. Wal-Mart jumped 4.47 percent to a two-year high after forecasting U.S. online sales would rise by about 40 percent in the next fiscal year and unveiling a $20-billion share buyback. The tech index was mostly unchanged, with Facebook falling 0.53 percent and Nvidia adding 1.91 percent after unveiling chips for autonomous vehicles, bringing its gain over the past year to 182 percent.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury prices pared gains on Tuesday after Catalonia’s leader proclaimed independence for the region but suspended the effects pending talks, easing some immediate concerns about violent clashes on the issue. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were up 7/32 in price to yield 2.343 percent after falling as low as 2.319 percent. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields briefly jumped to 2.402 percent on the data on Friday, the highest since May 1.
- 19:00 GMT+1 US FOMC Meeting Minutes