In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.4%, with insurance stocks falling 1.4% to lead losses while autos bucked the trend to jump 1.2%. Earnings are a key driver of individual share price action Thursday. Shares of Sweden’s Elekta fell 6% after the medical equipment maker missed third-quarter profit expectations amid a sharp fall in U.S. orders. Telefonica stock fell 3% after swinging to a fourth-quarter net loss, while Swiss Re fell 7% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after missing 2019 profit expectations.
In Currency Markets the yen fell past 112 to a 10-month low against a broadly stronger U.S. dollar on Thursday, extending recent losses for the Japanese currency as investors fretted about dire economic news out of the country. Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.71% to 112.14, its highest since April. The yen, which benefits during geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the worlds biggest creditor nation, has slipped about 2% over the last two sessions, its biggst two-day drop since September 2017.
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose on Thursday supported by China’s efforts to boost its economy, a drop in new coronavirus cases at the epicentre of the outbreak and supply concerns in Venezuela and Libya. Brent crude futures were up 27 cents at $59.39 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude climbed 59 cents to $53.88. China’s move to cut its benchmark lending rate on Thursday also helped to ease worries about slowing demand in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer and largest crude oil importer.
In US Equity Markets stocks were little changed on Thursday as a rise in the number of coronavirus cases outside China raised more concerns about the global impact of the epidemic, while a multi-billion dollar buyout deal for E*Trade Financial Corp boosted shares of the online discount brokerage. E*Trade jumped 24.2% after Morgan Stanley offered to buy it in a $13 billion stock deal, the biggest acquisition by a Wall Street bank since the global financial crisis.
In Bond Markets Euro zone bond yields edged lower on Thursday as concern about a economic slowdown in the region and damage to Asian growth from China’s coronavirus kept core yields near two-week lows. The 10-year German government bond yield was down 1 basis point at -0.428%, close to three-and-a-half-month lows of -0.447% reached earlier in February. Other core euro zone yields were also down by 1 to 2 basis points.