24 March 2017

Currency Markets the dollar edged up against the yen and euro on Friday, pulling away from recent lows, but gains were capped as investors focussed on a showdown between U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his own party over a new healthcare bill. The dollar was up 0.35 percent at 111.340 yen, pulling back from a four-month low of 110.620 struck overnight. The euro was down 0.2 percent to $1.0765.  The pound was down 0.3 percent at $1.2490. It scaled a one-month high of $1.2532 overnight on upbeat British retail sales data. The Australian dollar fell to an eight-day low of $0.7610 following a decline in the price of iron ore, the country’s key export product.

Commodities Markets oil prices edged up on Friday, supported by a fall in Saudi exports to the United States, but overall markets remained under pressure on the back of a world market awash with fuel. Prices for front-month Brent crude futures were at $50.63 per barrel, up 7 cents from their last close. In the U.S., West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 12 cents at $47.82 a barrel. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,243.60 per ounce. On Thursday, it touched its strongest since Feb. 28 at $1,253.12. U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at $1,243.80. Palladium climbed to a peak of $808.70 in the prior session, its highest since March 2015.

US Equity Markets stocks  declined on Thursday after lawmakers delayed a vote on a healthcare bill seen as President Donald Trump’s first policy test. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.02 percent at 20,656.58 points, while the S&P 500  lost 0.11 percent to 2,345.96. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.07 percent to 5,817.69. Seven of the 11 major S&P indexes declined, with the energy index down 0.36 percent. Google-parent Alphabet fell 1.19 percent as more firms pull YouTube ads on fears they may appear alongside offensive videos. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Five Below rose 10.80 percent after the retailer’s quarterly earnings beat estimates. 

Bond Markets U.S. Treasury prices fell on Thursday as investors waited for a vote by lawmakers on a bill to replace the Obamacare healthcare law, which is seen as a gauge of the Trump administration’s ability to implement near-term goals. Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 7/32 in price to yield 2.42 percent. The 10-year yields fell to 2.375 percent on Wednesday, their lowest since Feb. 28.


Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei share average gained on Friday as the yen took a breather from its recent strength, but the Nikkei was still poised for a weekly loss. The Nikkei was up 1 percent at 19,275.18 at the end of morning trade, shrugging off early weakness and moving decisively away from the previous session’s 1-1/2-month lows. The broader Topix percent added 1 percent to 1,545.73, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also rose 1 percent to 13,822.67. Australia bounced back from a tough few days to be up 0.8 percent, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was all but flat. The Shanghai Composite was flat and the Hang Seng Index inched up 0.13 percent.