In Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks rose on Thursday morning as the yen’s strong trend paused and the country’s strong trade data lifted sentiment, but mining shares underperformed on the back of a steep decline oil prices. The Nikkei 225 index rose 0.3 percent to 18,484.46 in midmorning trade. The broader Topix gained 0.5 percent to 1,478.86 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.4 percent to 13,230.78. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.1 percent after declining 0.5 percent in early trades. Markets in greater China were mixed with the Shanghai Composite eased 0.07 percent and the Hang Seng Index rose 0.40 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar caught its breath in Asian trading on Thursday, holding above lows hit earlier this week as investors awaited this weekend’s first round of voting in France’s presidential election. The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.0720, and was expected to tread water ahead of this weekend’s vote. Against its perceived safe-haven Japanese counterpart, the dollar was up 0.1 percent at 108.99 yen, pulling away from five-month lows touched on Monday. Sterling added 0.2 percent to $1.2797 after notching a more than six-month high of $1.2908 on Tuesday following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for an early general election ahead of Brexit negotiations.
In Commidities Markets oil prices regained some ground on Thursday after steep losses the previous day, with a slight decrease in U.S. crude inventories stoking hopes that a global supply overhang might slowly retreat. Brent crude futures were at $53.08 per barrel, up 0.3 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 0.2 percent, to $50.56 a barrel. U.S. crude stocks fell by 1 million barrels last week to 532.34 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,278.64 per ounce, while spot silver gained 0.2 percent to $18.11. Platinum rose 0.3 percent to $965.29, while palladium was up 0.5 percent at $779.10.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 and Dow closed lower and the Nasdaq advanced on Wednesday as investors digested the latest round of earnings, while a decline in oil prices weighed on the energy sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.58 percent, to 20,404.15, the S&P 500 lost 0.17 percent, to 2,338.16 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.23 percent, to 5,863.03. IBM lost 4.9 percent after the company reported a bigger-than-expected decline in revenue for the first time in five quarters. Morgan Stanley rose 2 percent after posting a increase in quarterly profit, taking some of the sting out of a disappointing report from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices fell on Thursday on the back of a retreat in U.S. Treasuries, although a well-received 20-year debt auction helped limit losses. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield was 1 basis point higher at 0.010 percent after rising to 0.015 percent earlier. The 20-year yield was a basis point higher at 0.565 percent. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield stood at 2.205 percent in Asian trade, edging up from the U.S. close of 2.202 percent on Wednesday.
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