In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index fell to a four-month low on Thursday morning after U.S. stocks tumbled overnight on signs the U.S. Federal Reserve may start cutting its king-sized balance sheet earlier than expected. The Nikkei lost 1.4 percent to 18,595.12 points by the midday break, the lowest since early December. The broader Topix fell 1.1 percent to 1,488.39 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 1.1 percent to 13,327.02. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan fell 0.8 percent. Australia’s index lost 0.6 percent. Stocks in Shanghai were flat after a private survey of China’s service sector showed activity expanded at its slowest pace in six months in March.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Thursday, weighed down by caution over the impending U.S.-China summit and geopolitical concerns. The dollar was down 0.2 percent at 110.500 yen, having slid from a high of 111.450 struck overnight. The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.0674. The Aussie was down 0.4 percent and near $0.7537, its lowest since March 10. The pound was steady at $1.2479 , after rising overnight on data showing growth in Britain’s services sector. The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies was down 0.1 percent at 100.480. It had risen to a three-week high of 100.850 overnight on an upbeat ADP report on U.S. private sector employment.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Thursday as record U.S. crude inventories underscored that crude markets remain bloated, despite efforts led by OPEC to cut output and prop up prices. Brent crude futures were at $54.07 per barrel, down 0.5 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 0.6 percent, at $50.85 a barrel. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a 1.57 million barrels increase in crude inventories late on Wednesday, bringing total U.S. stocks to a new record of 535.5 million barrels. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,254.06 per ounce and spot silver fell 0.4 percent to $18.19 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks ended lower on Wednesday after a late-afternoon reversal following signals from the Federal Reserve that it could change its bond investment policy this year, quenching a rally sparked by a strong private-sector jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.2 percent, at 20,648.15, the S&P 500 lost 0.31 percent, to 2,352.95 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.58 percent, to 5,864.48. Nine of the S&P’s 11 major sectors finished lower, with financials leading the sell-off. Utilities and Real Estate were the only two that ended higher. Data showed that U.S. companies added 263,000 workers in March, the most since December 2014 and well above economists’ expectations of 187,000.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell on Wednesday, with three- and five-year yields touching more than five-week lows after traders viewed the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes as indicating the central bank was maintaining an outlook for a gradual pace of interest rate increases. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last up 4/32 in price to yield 2.334 percent, from a yield of 2.350 percent late Tuesday, while 30-year yields were down 1 basis point at 2.981 percent.
- 13:30 GMT+1 US Unemployment Claims
- 21:00 GMT+1 EU ECB President Draghi Speaks