In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index was flat on Friday morning as dollar-yen levels steadied after major economic events, while Nintendo hit new multi-year highs on ongoing hopes for a new title on Switch. The Nikkei was flat at 20,119.55 in midmorning trade. The broader Topix fell 0.1 percent to 1,608.90 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 percent to 14,307.62. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was nearly unchanged on the day, and was up 0.4 percent for the week. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.7 percent while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.3 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar was little changed on Friday as traders marked time ahead of next week’s U.S. inflation-linked indicators, while commodity currencies such as the Canadian dollar held to gains after crude oil prices bounced. The dollar was flat at 111.320 yen and the euro was also steady, at $1.1158. The Canadian dollar was flat at C$1.3223 per dollar after rallying 0.75 percent on Thursday. The Norwegian crown was little changed at 8.4887 crowns per dollar after rising about 0.5 percent overnight. The Australian dollar was up 0.1 percent at $0.7547 and the New Zealand dollar was down 0.1 percent at $0.7258. The pound was 0.1 percent higher at $1.2700.
In Commodities Markets oil edged up on Friday, recovering some of the steep falls earlier in the week, but crude is still set for the worst first-half decline in two decades despite ongoing production cuts. Brent crude futures were at $45.39 per barrel, up 0.4 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 0.4 percent, at $42.91 per barrel. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,251.96 per ounce. It was down 0.1 percent for the week, and was headed for a third consecutive weekly fall. Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.4 percent to $16.60 per ounce. Platinum climbed 0.2 percent to $922.10 per ounce, while palladium fell 0.1 percent to $882.75 per ounce.
In US Equity Markets the S&P healthcare index rose 1 percent on Thursday, hitting its fifth consecutive record close following the release of Senate Republicans’ bill to replace Obamacare, while financial and consumer staple shares ended lower. The Dow was down 0.06 percent, at 21,397.29. The S&P 500 lost 0.05 percent, to 2,434.5 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.04 percent, to 6,236.69. Oracle’s 8.6 percent rise provided the S&P with its biggest boost after the company forecast an upbeat current-quarter profit. Tesla was up 1.6 percent at $382.61 after the company said it was in exploratory talks with the Shanghai municipal government to establish an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in China.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices fell across the board on Friday, with days of flattening in the yield curve partially reversed following weak results at the Bank of Japan’s regular debt-buying operation. The five-year yield was up half a basis point at a six-month high of minus 0.070 percent. The benchmark 10-year yield also rose half a basis point, to 0.055 percent. The 30-year yield climbed 1.5 basis points to 0.795 percent, pulling away from a near two-month low of 0.780 percent plumbed on Thursday.