In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 1.36 percent, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory. Europe’s auto stocks were the worst performers Thursday on the back of earnings news. Fiat Chrysler fell 12 percent after the carmaker posted softer-than-expected profit guidance. Looking at individual stocks, U.K. medical products maker Smith & Nephew rose 6 percent, to the top of the Stoxx 600, after its earnings report showed revenue growth in line with analysts’ expectations.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar edged higher against the euro on Thursday after the European Commission slashed its economic growth forecasts for the euro zone due to the expected impact of trade tensions and other challenges for the bloc’s largest countries. In a quarterly economic forecast, the EU executive revised down its estimates for inflation in the 19-country currency bloc next year and also cut euro zone growth estimates for this year and next. The euro was 0.10 percent lower against the greenback, on pace for its fourth session of losses.
In Commodities Markets oil fell on Thursday after data showing a rise in U.S. inventories weighed on sentiment already rattled by the global economy, though prices were buoyed by the prospect that supply could fall short of global demand. Brent crude oil futures were last down 50 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $62.19 a barrel. U.S. crude futures were down 75 cents, or 1.39 percent, at $53.26. The oil price also came under pressure as weekly data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed an unwelcome increase in stocks of crude oil.
In US Equity Markets stocks extended losses on Thursday after a CNBC report said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was “highly unlikely” to take place by a key March deadline, set by the two countries for reaching a trade deal. The S&P 500 was down 36.50 points, or 1.34 percent, at 2,695.11 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 112.60 points, or 1.53 percent, at 7,262.68. Twitter Inc fell 7.3 percent after the company forecast first-quarter revenue below Wall Street estimates and reported a drop in users for the fourth quarter.
In Bond Markets Germany’s 10-year bond yield fell on Thursday to its lowest level in over two years, taking a step closer to zero percent, after sharp cuts to the European Commission’s growth and inflation forecasts fueled concern about the economic outlook. Germany’s 10-year bond yield fell over 5 bps to 0.105 percent, its lowest since November 2016 and set for its biggest one-day fall in five weeks. French and Dutch 10-year bond yields fell to their lowest since late 2016 at around 0.54 percent and 0.22 percent respectively.