In European Equity Markets indices rose modestly on Wednesday. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.1 percent. Among individual stocks, shares in Austria’s Verbund posted the worst performance, falling 5.5 percent after the hydro-power specialist said full-year core profit fell as it produced less electricity in a long dry summer period. Germany’s Adidas lost 3.1 percent after announcing that supply chain issues would hit its sales growth in the first half of 2019, particularly in North America.
In Currency Markets sterling extended gains across the board as expectations grew that lawmakers would vote against leaving the European Union in 16 days time without an agreement. The British currency has swung wildly between $1.30 and $1.33 in chaotic trading over the last 48 hours, but found some support in early London trading around $1.3150. The pound rose 0.7 percent to the day’s high of $1.3163, putting the currency more than half way between this week’s lows of $1.2945 and its high of $1.3290.
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Wednesday, supported by an unexpected drop in U.S. crude inventory and a forecast of slower-than-expected supply from the world’s top crude producer. A record power outage in Venezuela has stalled crude exports from the OPEC-member nation, which is already dealing with reduced shipments as a result of U.S. sanctions. Brent rose 65 cents, or 1 percent, to $67.32 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate was up $1.12 to $57.99 a barrel, or 2 percent.
In US Equity Markets stocks rose broadly on Wednesday after fresh economic data strengthened the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future rate hikes and as Boeing rose for the first time since Sunday’s deadly crash of a 737 MAX 8 jet in Ethiopia. The S&P 500 was up 0.70 percent, at 2,810.96 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.72 percent, at 7,646.06. CVS Health Corp rose 3.89 percent, the most among S&P companies, after Bernstein started coverage of the pharmacy benefit manager with an “outperform” rating.
In Bond Markets Portugal’s 10-year bond yield held near its lowest in at least 25 years on Wednesday, pinned down by firm demand at a bond sale amid expectations of a ratings upgrade this week. Portugal has also benefited from talk that S&P Global may lift the country’s ratings at a review on Friday. S&P rates Portugal BBB- with a positive outlook. Portugal’s 10-year bond yield was steady at 1.35 percent , having edged up ahead of the auction. It fell to 1.308 percent on Tuesday, its lowest in at least 25 years.