In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.1%, with utilities stocks surging 1.4% while retail stocks retreated by around 0.7%. EasyJet shares jumped 3.4% after competitor Ryanair raised its full-year profit forecast. Ryanair stock was up by 5.7% during afternoon trade following the promising trading update on the back of a strong holiday season, while British Airways parent IAG also added 5%. Retailer B&M saw its shares down 5.7% after reporting slower-than-expected sales growth over the Christmas quarter.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar rose two-week highs on Friday, on track for its biggest weekly gain in two months, helped by easing geopolitical tension between the United States and Iran, with investors shrugging off a weaker-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls report for December. The dollar was also modestly higher versus the safe-haven yen at 109.58 yen after touching a four-week peak during the session. The greenback also rose 0.2% versus the Swiss franc at 0.9748.
In Commodities Markets oil fell further towards $65 a barrel on Friday as tensions in the Middle East over Iran eased for now and investors focused on rising U.S. inventories and other signs of ample supply. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 27 cents at $65.10, and was heading for its first weekly decline in six weeks, down over 4%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 33 cents to $59.23. Crude inventories in the United States rose last week by 1.2 million barrels, the U.S. EIA said on Wednesday.
In US Equity Markets the Dow Jones Industrial on Friday crossed the 29,000 mark for the first time, as gains in technology and healthcare stocks offset concerns from a report showing slower-than-expected U.S. jobs growth in December. The S&P 500 was up 0.19%, at 3,281.07 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.28%, at 9,229.56. Apple Inc. rose 0.9% after Credit Suisse became the latest brokerage to raise its price target on the stock, citing better-than-feared iPhone 11 cycle so far.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields were lower on Friday after the Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls report showed job growth slowed more than expected in December and wages stagnated, limiting inflation risk. The two-year yield was flat at 1.576%, reflecting market expectations that Friday’s report will not change the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep interest rates where they are for the near future. The benchmark 10-year yield was last down 1.4 basis points on the day to 1.844%.