27 March 2017

Currency Markets the dollar slid to a near two-month low against a basket of currencies on Monday as concerns mounted about the chances of U.S. fiscal stimulus after President Donald Trump’s failure to push through a healthcare reform bill.  Against the safe-haven yen, the dollar fell more than one percent to 110.260, its weakest since Nov. 22. It last traded at 110.335 yen. The euro touched $1.0850, its highest since Dec. 8. The pound was up 1.2 percent at $1.2527, reversing the previous day’s losses when the currency fell as investors braced for Britain beginning the formal process of leaving the European Union this week. The Australian dollar was steady at $0.7629 and the New Zealand dollar rose 0.2 percent to $0.7046

Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Monday as rising U.S. drilling activity outweighed talks that an OPEC-led production cut initially due to end in mid-2017 may be extended. Benchmark Brent crude futures eased 0.4 percent, from their last close to $50.58 per barrel. In the United States, West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 0.7 percent, at $47.65 a barrel. Spot gold rose 1 percent to $1,256.20 per ounce after hitting $1,257.97, its highest since Feb. 28. Spot silver rose 0.6 percent to $17.85 an ounce, after hitting a near 3-week high of $17.88. Platinum rose 0.8 percent to $968.74, while palladium was firm at $809.30. It touched an over 2-week peak of $815.40, its best since March 10, 2015.

US Equity Markets stocks fell on Friday as they pared losses in late-afternoon trading after Republicans pulled their bill to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29 percent, to end at 20,596.72, the S&P 500 lost 0.08 percent, to 2,343.98 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.19 percent, to 5,828.74. Shares of hospital operators finished sharply higher, with Tenet Healthcare  up 7.4 percent. The potential dismantling of Obamacare has pressured hospital stocks over concerns the benefits the companies gained from coverage expansion would diminish. Micron Technology jumped 7.4 percent after the chipmaker’s revenue and profit forecasts beat expectations.

Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices were steady across the board as investors were reluctant to stake out positions ahead of the looming domestic fiscal year-end. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield and the 30-year yield were both flat at 0.060 percent and 0.835 percent, respectively. U.S. Treasury yields were trading near one-month lows with ten-year bonds trading near 2.36 percent, its lowest levels since Feb. 28.

Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index skidded on Monday, battered by a resurgent yen and deepening last week’s 1.3 percent loss. The Nikkei was down 1.5 percent at the end of morning trade at 18,970.79. The broader Topix was down 1.4 percent at 1,522.84, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also shed 1.4 percent to 13,612.58. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was broadly flat after posting its first weekly decline last week in three weeks. Australia’s S&P/ASX was down 0.17 percent. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.39 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index eased 0.17 percent.