In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.1%, cutting earlier gains. Autos stocks led the losses, with Valeo, Continental and Faurecia among the sector’s worst performers. Swiss Re has suspended the $4.1 billion IPO (initial public offering) of its U.K. life insurance business due to market conditions. The reinsurance giant’s stock pared early losses to trade around the flatline. German packaging manufacturer Gerresheimer topped the Stoxx 600, jumping 13% after reporting a strong second quarter, with net income more than doubling.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar fell to a five-day low on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell kept the door open for U.S. interest rate cuts, though investors were wary of selling dollars aggressively until a policy review later this month. Against a basket of other currencies, the dollar fell 0.2% to 96.83, its lowest since July 5 and near the three-month low of 95.84 from late June. Elsewhere, the British pound rose from six-month lows to $1.2529. But it remains down for the week, amid Britain’s economic gloom and a fast-approaching Brexit deadline.
In Commodities Markets oil prices hit a six-week high on Thursday as oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated ahead of a storm, while an incident with a British tanker in the Middle East highlighted tensions in the region. Brent crude futures were up 2 cents at $67.03 a barrel. Earlier in the session, they hit their highest since May 30 at $67.65, after ending Wednesday up 4.4%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 9 cents at $60.52 a barrel, having touched their highest since May 23 at $60.94. They gained 4.5% in the previous session.
In US Equity Markets the Dow crossed 27,000 points for the first time and the S&P 500 was near record highs on Thursday, lifted by technology and healthcare stocks. Shares of health insurers including Cigna Corp and UnitedHealth Group Inc jumped 13.74% and 4.74%, while drug distributors such as McKesson Corp rose 3.85% after the Trump administration withdrew a rule aimed at eliminating drug rebates from its Medicare health plans. The S&P 500 rose 0.23%, at 3,000.04, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.15%, at 8,215.09.
In Bond Markets Treasuries brushed off their biggest gain in U.S. underlying consumer prices in 1-1/2 years, as it did little to change expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates later this month. The two-year yield, a proxy for market expectations of changes in rate policy, rose initially, but retraced most of those gains, last up less than a basis points at 1.83%. The benchmark 10-year made less of an initial move, but retained the gains, with its yield last up 1.6 basis points at 2.07%.