In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.29%, slightly paring earlier gains which saw the European blue-chip index hit its highest point since July 2015. Auto stocks jumped 1.7% to lead gains while utilities slid 1.9%. Siemens on Thursday reported fourth-quarter revenue of 24.5 billion euros, an 8% year-on-year increase, while German lender Commerzbank announced a 35% increase in net profit for the third quarter. Siemens shares rose nearly 5% while Commerzbank fell 0.16% lower. Shares of Arcelormittal rose 6.7% after the world’s largest steelmaker reporting a second consecutive quarterly loss before the bell, but topped earnings expectations.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar gained against the safe-haven yen and Swiss franc on Thursday, bolstered by comments from a Chinese commerce ministry official that suggested the world’s two largest economies are inching closer to a trade deal. The dollar rose to near three-month highs versus the yen after the news, retracing its 0.3% losses earlier in the session, as investors interpreted the comments as positive news. It was last up 0.2% at 109.19 yen. The dollar also gained against another safe haven, the Swiss franc, trading up 0.2% at 0.9946 franc. The euro was down at 0.2% against the dollar at $1.1051, having hit three-week lows earlier in the session.
In Commodities Markets oil rose above $62 a barrel on Thursday after China hinted at progress toward a trade deal with the United States, raising hopes for an end to a long dispute that has weighed on economic growth and demand for fuel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 76 cents to $62.50 a barrel after settling down $1.22 on Wednesday. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 92 cents to $57.27. OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said this week he was more optimistic about the outlook for 2020 because of developments on trade disputes, appearing to downplay any need to cut output more deeply.
In US Equity Markets main indexes hit fresh record highs on Thursday, as signs of progress in U.S.-China trade relations and a batch of largely upbeat earnings boosted risk appetite. The S&P 500 was up 0.53%, at 3,092.95 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.74%, at 8,472.59. Ralph Lauren Corp jumped about 12% after it topped second-quarter profit expectations, helped by a tighter control on expenses and strong demand for its Polo shirts and tweed jackets in China and Europe. Roku Inc fell 10.6% after posting a bigger net loss in the third quarter, as it spent more to attract subscribers to its video streaming platform.
In Bond Markets the gap between Greek and Italian government bond spreads turned negative on Thursday for the first time since early 2008, amid expectations political uncertainty will return in Italy while the recognition of economic reforms has boosted Greek debt in recent weeks. The spread between the 10-year bond yields of the euro zone’s two most indebted states fell as low as -2.4 basis points. It was last at 0.20 bps. The gap has tightened since the start of the year, when it was at 164 bps. Greek bonds have rallied all year, and a credit rating upgrade from S&P to BB- with a positive outlook on Oct. 25 has provided an extra boost, so further upgrades may follow.