In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up by 0.2%. Utilities shares were the biggest gainers, climbing 0.9%, while autos stocks fell 0.9%. Tullow Oil stock jumped 11%, recovering from a sharp decline on Wednesday after the British oil company announced a $1.5 billion writedown on its outlook for oil prices. At the other end of the benchmark, Pearson shares fell 9%, after the British education company’s trading update showed profits coming in at the bottom end of its guidance.
In Currency Markets sterling edged up on Thursday, hitting its highest level of the week as investors paused their ramping-up of bets on the Bank of England cutting interest rates later this month. The pound rose as much as 0.23% to $1.3068, while versus the euro it gained 0.4% at 85.19 pence. The British currency fell sharply earlier this week after another BoE policymaker said he would vote for a rate cut unless economic data improved significantly. Weaker inflation data on Wednesday added to sterling’s woes.
In Commodities Markets oil rose on Thursday as the long-awaited Phase 1 trade deal between the United States and China brought some relief to markets, but the gains were capped after the International 7Energy Agency said it expected oil production to outpace demand. Brent was up 50 cents, or 0.8%, to $64.50 a barrel , and West Texas Intermediate rose by 38 cents, or 0.7%, to $58.19 a barrel. Under the Phase 1 trade deal, China committed to buy over $50 billion more of U.S. oil, liquefied natural gas and other energy products over two years.
In US Equity Markets indexes hit record highs on Thursday, with the S&P 500 crossing the 3,300 mark for the first time, as upbeat earnings from Morgan Stanley and a tech rally added to optimism from an initial U.S.-China trade deal. The S&P 500 .SPX rose 0.46% to 3,304.56 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.70% to 9,323.93. Technology stocks provided the biggest boost, with Apple Inc up more than 1% and chip-makers gaining after a strong forecast from the world’s top contract chip-maker TSMC
In Bond Markets most euro zone bond yields were marginally lower on Thursday, with German Bund yields just below two-week highs following the signing of an initial U.S.-China trade deal and two days of sizeable new bond sales. Germany’s 10-year bond yield fell 1 basis point to -0.22% , below Wednesday’s two-week high around -0.17%. Most other 10-year euro zone bond yields were steady as caution set in after the signing of the trade deal between the United States and China.