In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei share average edged up and hit a fresh a 21-year high on Friday helped by index heavyweight Fast Retailing, while selling of Kobe Steel continued as worries from its data fabrication scandal extended overseas. The Nikkei opened flat, traversing positive and negative territory, and then rose 0.3 percent to 21,013.38 in midmorning trade, the highest level since December 1996. The broader Topix shed 0.1 percent to 1,699.19. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was up 0.23 percent, having gained 3.7 percent so far this month. In Greater China, the Shanghai Composite gained 0.15 percent and the Hang Seng Index inched up 0.03 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar inched down on Friday, as U.S. Treasury yields stayed near recent lows, awaiting U.S. inflation data for a potential boost following this week’s fall from 10-week highs. The dollar was slightly lower on the day against its Japanese counterpart at 112.120 yen, and on track for a fall of 0.3 percent for this week, during which it went as low as 111.990. The euro was 0.15 percent higher at $1.1848. The Singapore dollar fell 0.1 pct to 1.3540 versus the U.S. dollar from 1.3514 after the Monetary Authority of Singapore kept all its monetary policy settings unchanged on Friday, noting 2018 economic growth was likely to be slower than seen this year. The dollar index was 0.1 percent lower at 92.970.
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose on Friday as both U.S. crude production and inventories declined, pointing towards a tightening market. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $50.93 per barrel, up 0.7 percent, from their last settlement. Brent was at $56.55, up 0.5 percent. U.S. crude inventories fell 2.7 million barrels in the week to Oct. 6, to 462.22 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said late on Thursday. U.S. gold futures for December delivery climbed 0.2 percent to $1,298.60 per ounce. Silver was up 0.6 percent at $17.26 an ounce, after marking an over three-week high earlier in the session. Platinum was 0.5 percent higher at $937.60 an ounce, while palladium climbed 1 percent to $982.25.
In US Equity Markets stocks retreated from recent record highs on Thursday as AT&T shares sank after it said it lost subscribers in the last quarter and banks fell following results from JPMorgan and Citigroup. The Dow fell 0.14 percent, to end at 22,841.01, the S&P 500 lost 0.17 percent, to 2,550.93 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.18 percent, to 6,591.51. JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc said they had set aside more money for credit card lending losses in the third quarter, stoking concerns about consumer credit, even as they reported results that topped analyst estimates. JPMorgan shares eased 0.9 percent and Citigroup fell 3.4 percent, making them among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, with the S&P financials index ending down 0.7 percent.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices were little changed on Friday, as investor interest was largely centered on Japanese equities, but strong liquidity-enhancing auction results lent support. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield and the 30-year yields were flat at 0.060 percent and 0.865 percent, respectively. The five-year yield edged up half a basis point to minus 0.085 percent.
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