In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 ended down 0.26%. Oil and gas stocks led losses with a 2.1% decline, while banks fell 1.1%. Media stocks were the strongest performer with a 0.7% gain. French technology giant Dassault Systemes has agreed to acquire Medidata Solutions in an all-cash deal worth $5.8 billion on an enterprise value basis. Dassault shares fell 1.1%. Shares of German publisher Axel Springer jumped 11.5% after U.S. private equity firm KKR offered to buy out its minority shareholders.
In Currency Markets the pound rose towards a three-week high on Wednesday after Britain’s main opposition party said it would try to introduce parliamentary legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit. The pound was up 0.2% at $1.2740, close to a three-week high of $1.2763 hit on Friday. It was flat against the euro at 89 pence. Sterling, which has been confined recently to a range of $1.26-$1.28, found some relief on Tuesday after British wages in the three months to April rose faster than expected.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell more than 2% on Wednesday, pressured by an unexpected rise in U.S. crude inventories and by a weaker outlook for global oil demand. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, fell $1.36, or 2.2%, to $60.93 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $1.39, or 2.6%, to $51.88 a barrel. Oil futures extended losses after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported domestic crude stockpiles climbed last week by 2.2 million barrels. Analysts had forecast a decrease of 481,000 barrels.
In US Equity Markets indices fell on Wednesday on worries of a prolonged U.S.-China trade war after Washington hardened its stance, but losses were cushioned by a muted reading on inflation that backed the case for an interest rate cut. The S&P 500 was down 0.23%, at 2,879.22 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.43%, at 7,788.79. Semiconductor stocks, which get a sizeable portion of revenue from China, declined, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index falling 1.86%. Micron Technology Inc, Applied Materials Inc and Lam Research Corp fell between 4% and 5%.
In Bond Markets Italy’s long-dated government bond yields rose sharply on Wednesday after the country launched a surprise 20-year bond sale to take advantage of hefty demand for euro zone debt. Italy has received orders worth more than 23.5 billion euros for the new bond, a lead manager told Reuters. Italy’s 10-year bond yield was up 10 basis points at 2.41%, with 20- and 30-year yields rising a similar amount. Elsewhere, German 10-year bond yields, the benchmark for the bloc, fell to minus 0.24%, close to record lows hit last week.