In Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks rose on Thursday, with investor sentiment staying bright after record highs on Wall Street. The Nikkei was up 0.6 percent at 20,142.60 points by mid-afternoon. The broader Topix rose 0.7 percent to 1,633.17, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also rose 0.7 percent to 14,522.78. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan added 0.15 percent, hovering near its highest level since December 2007. Australian stocks rose 0.6 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.1 percent. Chinese blue chips advanced 0.15 percent, while the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.25 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng crept up 0.3 percent.
In Currency Markets the euro held near a 14-month high against the dollar on Thursday as investors look to hints from the European Central Bank on tapering of its stimulus, while the yen barely budged after the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold. The euro is now at $1.1515, backing off a tad from Tuesday’s $1.1583, its highest level since May 2016. The euro was flat on day at 129.10 yen, off the 17-month peak of 130.76 touched last week. The dollar fetched 112.11 yen, up 0.1 percent from late U.S. levels after the Bank of Japan kept its policy on hold as expected. The Australian dollar fell 0.2 percent to $0.7935, meeting a strong resistance at $0.80 after hitting a two-year high of $0.7992.
In Commodities Markets oil prices held steady on Thursday, hanging on to gains made the previous session when falling U.S. crude stocks lifted the market, as analysts offered mixed supply outlooks for the commodity ahead of a key OPEC meeting next week. Brent crude futures were at $49.66 per barrel, just 2 cents down from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $47.10 per barrel, 2 cents below their last close. U.S. crude inventories fell by 4.7 million barrels in the week to July 14, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, against analyst expectations for a decrease of 3.2 million barrels. Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,240.07 per ounce.
In US Equity Markets the major U.S. stock indexes closed at record highs on Wednesday helped partly by technology stocks, which surpassed a long-standing mark, despite gains on the Dow being capped by a sharp decline in IBM shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.31 percent, to 21,640.75, the S&P 500 gained 0.54 percent, to 2,473.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.64 percent, to 6,385.04. IBM was a drag on the Dow industrials after its quarterly revenue came in below expectations and the stock fell 4.2 percent. Morgan Stanley rose 3.3 percent after the Wall Street bank reported better-than-expected profit and bond trading revenue declines that were modest compared with arch-rival Goldman Sachs’.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields were little changed on Wednesday on light trading volume with benchmark yields hitting their lowest levels in nearly three weeks in advance of a meeting of European Central Bank policymakers on Thursday. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was 2.266 percent, up marginally from Tuesday’s close, after touching 2.255 percent earlier on Wednesday, which was the lowest since June 29. German 10-year yield was down 2 basis points at 0.543 percent.
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