In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.2% higher at the closing bell, with most sectors and all major bourses in positive territory. Travel and leisure stocks led the gains, while oil and gas stocks tumbled after oil prices fell. Italy’s Unicredit posted a sharp rise in second-quarter net profit of 1.85 billion euros, an increase from the 1.02 billion euros posted a year ago, boosted by the sale of its stake in FinecoBank, but coming in below analyst expectations.The bank’s stock was down 5% by the end of the session.
In Currency Markets traders paused their heavy selling of the pound on Wednesday but the British currency remained stuck near its weakest since 2017 and analysts are predicting renewed volatility. Risks of a no-confidence vote in the new Conservative government as soon as it comes back from the summer recess, or an early election are two of the many scenarios investors envision happening as a Oct. 31 deadline to leave the European Union approaches. The pound was slightly lower at $1.2151 on Wednesday, not far from the 31-month low of $1.2080 it reached at the beginning of the month.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell 5% on Wednesday to a fresh seven-month low, extending recent heavy losses following an unexpected build in U.S. crude stockpiles and fears of lower crude demand due to deepening U.S.-China trade tensions. Brent crude futures were down $2.38, or 4%, at $56.56 a barrel, setting a fresh seven-month low. Prices have lost more than 20% since hitting their 2019 peak in April. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down $2.66, or 5%, at $50.97.
In US Equity Markets stocks slipped on Wednesday, as investors reeling from rising trade tensions fled riskier assets for perceived safer havens, leading the bond market to price in a slide into recession. The S&P 500 was down 0.70%, at 2,861.58 while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.31%, at 7,808.66. CVS Health Corp rose 6.1% after the drugstore chain posted profit above estimates, boosted by strong sales in the Aetna health insurance business it acquired last year and raised its full-year earnings forecast.
In Bond Markets with German bond yields sinking to new lows on an almost daily basis, some investors are looking to Switzerland as a yardstick for how low government borrowing costs in Europe’s biggest economy could go. Germany’s benchmark 10-year government bond yield on Wednesday fell to -0.60% as an unexpected large rate cut from New Zealand and weak German data fuelled expectations for aggressive easing from major central banks.