In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed just below the flatline, with sectors and major bourses in mixed territory. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the euro area was confirmed at 0.4% quarter-on-quarter and 1.2% year-on-year. Renault shares were down around 7% after Fiat Chrysler abandoned a $35 billion merger offer for the French carmaker. On the other end, British tobacco firm Imperial Brands sat at the top of the Stoxx 600 with an almost 6% gain, closely followed by Danish bioscience company CHR Hansen, which climbed 5%.
In Currency Markets the euro jumped half a percent against the dollar on Thursday after the European Central Bank refrained from hinting at an interest rate cut and instead pushed back the timing of its first rate hike since the 2008 financial crisis. The euro rose because investors had expected an even more dovish signal from the ECB and an acknowledgement of weak economic growth in the bloc. The single currency was 0.47% higher at $1.127 after brushing a 1-1/2-month high of $1.131 earlier this week.
In Commodities Markets oil prices steadied on Thursday after hitting a near five-month low in the previous session but sentiment remained weak due to rising U.S. supply and a stalling global economy. Benchmark Brent crude was at $60.90 a barrel, up 27 cents or 0.5%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fetched $51.57, down 11 cents or 0.2%. On Wednesday, the two benchmarks hit their lowest levels since mid-January at $59.45 and $50.60, respectively. On Wednesday, the two benchmarks hit their lowest levels since mid-January at $59.45 and $50.60, respectively.
In US Equity Markets stocks treaded water on Thursday as hopes of a rate cut helped counter fears of a further escalation in the trade war with China following comments from President Donald Trump. The trade-sensitive industrial sector fell 0.3%, the most among the five major sectors trading lower. The S&P 500 was up 0.07%, at 2,828.21. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.07%, at 7,570.29. Advanced Micro Devices Inc rose 4.2% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “equal-weight” from “underweight”, citing near-term positive catalysts.
In Bond Markets the U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened on Thursday as the European Central Bank committed to leaving interest rates alone into the first half of 2020, disappointing traders who had bet on a rate cut. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were 1.90 basis points lower at 2.104%. U.S. yields hit session lows earlier Thursday in step with their German counterparts as investors had anticipated the ECB hinting at cutting rates deeper into negative territory. German 10-year yields tumbled to record low of -0.240% before retracing to -0.232%.