In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 finished slightly higher, up 0.3 percent, with sectors seeing mixed results by the end of trade. Autos were one of the worst-performing sectors. Osram fell to the bottom of the index, down by more than 6 percent. The lighting company said that there had been lower demand by auto firms. Sodexo was among the top performers, up by 2.5 percent. The French hospitality company reported sales figures that beat expectations and it also confirmed its outlook for the year.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar rallied from three-month lows on Thursday, with investors reducing bearish positions on the currency as they await resolution of U.S.-China trade negotiations, the U.S. government shutdown, and Britain’s exit from the European Union. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s Dec. 18-19 meeting showed several policymakers were in favour of keeping rates steady this year. The dollar index rose 0.1 percent to 95.338, after earlier falling to a three-month trough. The euro was last down 0.2 percent at $1.1524 .
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell about 1 percent on Thursday as no clear signs of a resolution emerged from U.S.-Chinese trade talks and official data again highlighted vast fuel stocks in the United States. Brent crude was down nearly 1 percent, or 60 cents, to $60.84 per barrel. U.S. crude was at $51.65 per barrel, down 71 cents or 1.4 percent. Both benchmarks rose by around 5 percent the previous day, capping off a week-long climb that marked oil’s longest sustained rise since last summer.
In US Equity Markets stocks looked set to snap a four-day rally on Thursday as disappointing holiday-season results from Macy’s hammered retail stocks and no clear signs of a resolution emerged from U.S.-Chinese trade talks. The S&P 500 was down 0.60 percent, at 2,569.34 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.85 percent, at 6,897.89. American Airlines Group Inc fell 9.7 percent after the No.1 U.S. airline cut its forecast for fourth-quarter growth in unit revenue, a closely watched performance metric. That weighed on other airlines as well.
In Bond Markets French and German government bond yields fell towards recent two-year lows on Thursday as soft data out of China and caution about the economic outlook boosted demand for top-rated debt. Germany’s benchmark 10-year yield fell 2 basis points to 0.196 percent. French yields were also lower, with the 10-year yield dropping by 3.5 basis points to 0.6765 percent. The Spanish benchmark 10-year bond yield fell 4 basis points to 1.45 percent.