In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.6%, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory. Britain’s IG Group rose to the top of the European benchmark after the company said it expects to return revenue growth in 2020. Shares of the online trading platform rose over 10% on the news. Next fell toward the bottom of the index after reporting first-half results after posting a 2.7% rise in profit during the first six months of the year, but said the first few weeks of its fall season had been disappointing. Shares fell d 5%.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar was mixed on Thursday morning, weaker against the euro, the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen, but stronger versus the Antipodean currencies after a slew of central bank decisions came in more hawkish than expected. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut interest rates by 25 basis points to provide insurance against risks including weak global growth and resurgent trade tensions, while signaling a higher bar to further reductions in borrowing costs. The dollar fell, 0.22% lower against a basket of currencies.
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose sharply on Thursday, supported by supply risks as the market assesses the fallout from last weekend’s drone attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure. Brent crude futures gained 96 cents to $64.56 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 51 cents at $58.62 a barrel. The attacks knocked out around half of Saudi Arabia’s crude production and severely limited the country’s spare capacity, a cushion for oil markets in any unplanned outage.
In US Equity Markets gains in Microsoft shares pushed the benchmark S&P 500 within striking distance of its record high, a day after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates as expected but played down hopes of further monetary easing. The software giant’s plans to buy back $40 billion in shares also boosted the Dow and the Nasdaq, while driving a 0.7% gain in the wider technology sector. The S&P 50 was just 10 points shy of an all-time high of 3,027.98 hit in July. Nasdaq Composite .was up 0.40%, at 8,209.81.
In Bond Markets short-dated Italian government bonds sold off on Thursday after the take-up of long-term loans by banks at the European Central Bank’s latest funding round fell short of expectations. Italy’s two-year bond yield rose to as high as -0.18% , before pulling back to -0.21% — still up 3 basis points on the day. Yields across the Italian curve were up to 3 bps higher, under-performing other euro zone bond markets.