In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index edged up in choppy trade on Friday but gains were limited as the U.S. missile strike on Syria curbed investors’ risk appetite. The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 18,664.63 after traversing positive and negative trade. The broader Topix was up 0.7 percent at 1,489.77 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 climbed 0.7 percent to 13,348.44. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.4 percent after earlier sliding as much as 0.85 percent to a 2-1/2-week low. The index is set to end the week down about 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.25 percent, while Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index fell by 0.58 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar skidded against the safe-haven Japanese yen on Friday after the United States launched cruise missiles at an airbase in Syria, raising concerns of a sharp escalation in the Syrian civil war. Against the yen, the dollar erased its early modest gains and fell 0.3 percent to 110.44 yen, down 0.8 percent for the week. The euro was slightly lower on the day at $1.0643, after dovish comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi helped push it to a three week low of $1.0629 overnight. It was down 0.1 percent for the week. Against the yen, the euro fell 0.4 percent to 117.53 after falling as low as 117.30 yen earlier, its deepest pit since late November.
In Commodities Markets oil futures rose more than 2 percent to a one-month high on Friday after the United States launched dozens of cruise missiles at an airbase in Syria, with prices later falling back as there seemed no immediate threat to supplies. Brent crude futures jumped to $56.08 per barrel, before easing to $55.51 per barrel, still up 1.1 percent from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures also climbed by more than 2 percent, to a high of $52.94 a barrel, before receding to $52.35, up 1.26 percent. Spot gold rose 1 percent to $1,264.30 per ounce. Spot silver rose 0.7 percent to $18.40 an ounce, after touching $18.47, the most since Feb. 27.
In US Equity Markets major indexes closed slightly higher on Thursday but finished well off session highs as investors were nervous about upcoming talks between China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump. The Dow closed up 0.07 percent, to close at 20,662.95, the S&P 500 gained 0.19 percent, to 2,357.49. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.25 percent, to 5,878.95. Four of the 11 major S&P sectors ended lower. The energy index rose 0.8 percent. Comcast Corp was the S&P’s biggest boost with a 2.1 percent gain to $38.13 after it announced a wireless service. Investors are anxious for news on China-U.S. trade relations and discussions on reining in North Korea’s arms program, according to market participants.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields edged lower on Thursday amid uncertainty ahead of a key U.S. jobs report Friday and a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and also over the fate of Trump’s pro-growth agenda. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last up 4/32 in price to yield 2.343 percent, from a yield of 2.357 percent late Wednesday. U.S. 30-year Treasury bonds were last up 9/32 in price to yield 2.990 percent, from a yield of 3.005 percent late Wednesday.
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- 13:30 GMT+1 US Unemployment Rate