In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index fell in choppy trade on Thursday, after weak U.S. inflation data overshadowed an interest hike by the Federal Reserve. By midmorning, the Nikkei was down 0.6 percent at 19,762.71, after briefly flirting with positive territory earlier. The broader Topix fell 0.5 percent to 1,583.42. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan fell 0.7 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.13 percent, driven by weakness in its materials and energy sub-indexes. Markets in greater China were mixed, with the Hang Seng Index down 0.91 percent and the Shanghai Composite up 0.03 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar nursed losses on Thursday, after weak U.S. inflation data left investors wondering if the Federal Reserve would be able to follow up its latest rate hike with another later this year. Against its Japanese counterpart, the dollar shrugged off earlier losses and was flat at 109.54 yen, above Wednesday’s eight-week low of 108.81 yen. The euro was also unchanged at $1.1217, below a seven-month peak of $1.1296 scaled overnight. The Australia dollar rose 0.2 percent to $0.7605, moving back toward its 2-1/2-month high of $0.7636 hit on Wednesday, after a better-than-forecast employment report. But the New Zealand dollar skidded 0.8 percent to $0.7213, moving away from the previous session’s four-month high of $0.7319.
In Commodities Markets oil prices wallowed near their lowest levels in seven months early on Thursday, hurt by high global inventories and doubts over OPEC’s ability to implement production cuts. Brent crude futures were at $47.01 per barrel, virtually steady after falling nearly 4 percent in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $44.70 per barrel, also little changed from their last close. Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,264.76 per ounce. Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.5 percent to $16.96 an ounce after it snapped a five-session losing streak and settled higher on Wednesday. Palladium was near flat at $863.03 an ounce, while platinum fell 0.2 percent to $933.90.
In US Equity Markets a slide in technology stocks pulled down the Nasdaq Composite on Wednesday and the S&P 500 ended slightly lower, as investors worried about the pace of economic growth after weaker-than-expected inflation numbers and an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.22 percent, to 21,374.56, the S&P 500 lost 0.10 percent, to 2,437.92 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.41 percent, to 6,194.89. Alexion shares rose 9.3 percent after the biotechnology company named Biogen’s chief financial officer as its CFO. Biogen’s stock fell 3.1 percent. H & R Block rose 7.9 percent after the tax preparation service’s quarterly revenue and profit beat analysts’ expectations.
In Bond Markets long-dated U.S. Treasury yields fell to their lowest since early November on Wednesday after surprisingly weak data on inflation and retail sales overshadowed an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. central bank raised its benchmark overnight rate to a range of 1.00 to 1.25 percent, its second quarter-point hike this year. U.S. 10-year yields were last at 2.127 percent after touching 2.103 percent earlier, their lowest since Nov. 10. U.S. 30-year yields were last at 2.769 percent after touching their lowest since Nov. 9 of 2.765 percent earlier. U.S. two-yields were last at 1.335 percent, down 3 basis points on the day.
- 08:30 GMT+1 CHF Libor Rate
- 08:30 GMT+1 CHF SNB Monetary Policy Assessment
- 08:30 GMT+1 CHF SNB Press Conference
- 09:30 GMT+1 UK Retail Sales m/m
- 12:00 GMT+1 UK MPC Official Bank Rate Votes
- 12:00 GMT+1 UK Monetary Policy Summary
- 12:00 GMT+1 UK Official Bank Rate
- 13:30 GMT+1 US Unemployment Claims
- 21:00 GMT+1 UK BOE Gov Carney Speaks