In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed down around 0.4%, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory. Retailers were among the worst performers, Ocado leading the sector’s losses with a more than 7% decline. Richemont fell 6% after the Swiss watchmaker reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the first half of the year, as political protests in Hong Kong weighed on sales growth. Beazley rose to the top of the index. The company, which provides casualty and property, cyber and political risk insurance reported its main measure of insurance profitability was set to register losses in 2019. Nonetheless, shares rose 7%.
In Currency Markets sterling edged lower on Friday and is poised for a weekly loss as investors await political developments ahead of Britain’s Dec. 12 election. The pound briefly dipped below $1.28 against the dollar earlier, ignoring news that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would seek to form a “progressive alliance” to keep the Conservatives out in the event of a hung parliament. The pound recovered from Thursday’s losses, up slightly versus the dollar at $1.2809 but overall down by around 1% since the start of the week. Versus the euro, the pound strengthened around 0.1% at 86.17 pence.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell more than 1% on Friday, weighed down by uncertainty about how close Washington and Beijing are to a trade deal after U.S. President Donald Trump said he has not agreed to roll back tariffs on China. Brent crude futures fell 73 cents, or 1.2%, to $61.56 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 74 cents, or 1.3%, at $56.41 a barrel. Brent was headed for a weekly fall of 0.3%, its second straight weekly decline. WTI was on track to gain 0.3%. Trump on Friday told reporters he has not agreed to roll back tariffs on China but that Beijing would like him to do so.
In US Equity Markets indices were flat on Friday. Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading lower, with the energy sector shedding 1.51% as oil prices fell. Activision Blizzard Inc fell 1.36% after the video game publisher forecast fourth-quarter adjusted revenue below estimates, as it faces stiff competition from online and free-to-play games. Gap Inc fell 8.14% after it said Chief Executive Art Peck would leave the company, a surprise exit in the middle of a restructuring. The apparel retailer also slashed its full-year earnings forecast. Energy drinks maker Monster Beverage was up 3.53% after posting a better-than-expected third-quarter profit and announcing a share buyback plan.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields held just below three-month highs on Friday as investors evaluated the likelihood that the United States and China would reach a deal to roll back tariffs, as officials made contradictory statements on the issue. Benchmark 10-year note yields rose as high as 1.973% on Thursday on optimism a deal would be reached, the highest since Aug. 1. On Friday, the yields traded just below this level at 1.933%. U.S. government bond yields are also moving in sympathy with European government bonds, which have fell on trade optimism and on expectations that Britain will exit the European Union after it holds an election in December.