In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed just above the flat-line, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions. Europe’s tech stocks led the gains, up 1.8 percent amid earnings news. Sweden’s Hexagon and France’s Dassault Systemes were the top sectoral performers, after reporting solid quarterly results on Wednesday. Shares rose 8.5 percent and 9.6 percent respectively. Shares of online supermarket pioneer Ocado fell almost 6 percent after a fire at its flagship robotic distribution center badly damaged the complex.
In Currency Markets the Australian dollar fell on Wednesday after the country’s central bank opened the door to a possible rate cut as it acknowledged growing economic risks, while the U.S. dollar held steady against a basket of major currencies. In a shift from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s long-standing tightening bias, Governor Philip Lowe said rates could move in either direction, depending on the strength of the labor market and inflation. The Aussie was 1.48 percent lower at $0.713, on pace for its worst one-day decline in a year.
In Commodities Markets oil fell below $62 a barrel on Wednesday after a report showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories, countering expectations of a tightening market in 2019 because of OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela. U.S. crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels last week and gasoline stocks also increased, the American Petroleum Institute said. The government’s official supply report is due later on Wednesday. Brent crude, the global benchmark, slipped 24 cents to $61.74 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 33 cents at $53.33.
In US Equity Markets stocks fell on Wednesday as disappointing forecasts from video-game makers pulled the communications sector lower, but a boost from technology companies kept the indexes near two-month highs. Electronic Arts Inc slid 14.4 percent after cutting its yearly revenue outlook, while Take-Two Interactive Software Inc fell 12.8 percent after its revenue forecast disappointed investors. Activision Blizzard Inc also fell 8.7 percent. The S&P 500 was down 2.80 points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,734.90 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.07 points, or 0.03 percent, at 7,400.02.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell for a second straight session on Wednesday, as investors continued to factor in the Federal Reserve’s dovish shift on interest rates, with concerns about slowing growth in Germany adding to the pressure. U.S. yields also moved in tandem with 10-year German bund yields, which fell after German industrial orders in December fell 1.6 percent, with analysts anticipating a possible recession in the euro zone’s largest economy. German 10-year yields fell to a low of 0.15 percent. U.S. 10-year note yields fell to 2.682 percent, from 2.704 percent late on Tuesday.