In European Equity Markets stocks rose on Thursday after the European Central Bank reaffirmed its ultra-easy policy stance and said details on cutting its massive stimulus would come in October. While the pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.5 percent, the export oriented German blue-chip index rose 1 percent to its highest level in more than six weeks. Banks have been under pressure recently after strength in the euro fueled talk the ECB could delay monetary policy tightening. Among top euro zone bank decliners were Spain’s Sabadell, and Italy’s UniCredit, down 2 and 0.7 percent respectively, while BNP Paribas added 1.1 percent and Deutsche Bank added 0.6 percent. Ferrari lagged with a fall of 5.5 percent after a double downgrade from Morgan Stanley to “underweight” from “overweight”.
In Currency Markets the euro jetted past $1.20 and was on course for its biggest daily percentage gain against the U.S. dollar in nearly two weeks on Thursday amid European Central Bank indications a decision on tapering stimulus is likely in October, while the dollar fell against the yen. The euro rallied as much as 1.2 percent on the day to $1.2059, its highest since Aug. 29, when the currency hit a more than 2-1/2-year high of $1.2069. The dollar fell more than 0.6 percent against the safe-haven yen to a session low of 108.50 yen. The dollar fell to a fresh more than two-year low against the Canadian dollar of C$1.2139 a day after the Bank of Canada raised interest rates.
In Commodities Markets oil futures eased on Thursday on a slightly bigger-than expected U.S. crude inventory build as the restart of U.S. refiners after Hurricane Harvey was being countered by the threat of Hurricane Irma. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. weekly crude stocks increased 4.6 million barrels last week, topping analysts forecast of a 4.0-million barrel. Brent crude futures were down 0.3 percent, at $54.04 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate fell 0.4 percent, at $48.96 per barrel. U.S. gold futures for December delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1,346.80. Silver rose 0.8 percent to $17.97 an ounce, while platinum lost 0.3 percent to $999.99 an ounce. Palladium added 0.2 percent to $941.10 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets the Dow and the S&P were slightly lower in late morning trading on Thursday as investors kept a close watch on Hurricane Irma, which was barreling toward Florida. The Dow was down 0.18 percent, at 21,769.04 and the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent, at 2,462.49. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.13 percent, at 6,401.78. Six of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, with the financial index’s 1.59 percent fall leading the decliners. General Electric fell 2.45 percent after a JPMorgan analyst downgraded the stock to “underweight”. MasterCard hit a record high after the payments processor forecast higher full-year revenue. GoPro jumped more than 15 percent after the action camera maker said it expected to be profitable on an adjusted basis in the third quarter.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell on Thursday, as weak U.S. jobless claims data and worries about the impact of hurricanes Irma and Harvey on the world’s largest economy stoked safe-haven demand for government debt. In mid-morning trading, benchmark 10-year Treasury yields fell to 2.049 percent, from 2.106 percent late on Wednesday. Ten-year yields fell to their lowest since Nov. 10. U.S. 30-year bond yields fell to 2.663 percent, down from 2.723 percent the previous session and also the lowest since November.
European Equity Upgrades/Downgrades
- DIXONS CARPHONE (DC LN) CUT TO OUTPERFORM FROM TOP PICK AT RBC
- LEGAL & GENERAL (LGEN LN) UPGRADED TO BUY FROM ADD AT ALPHAVALUE
- HEIDELBERGCEMENT (HEI GY) RAISED TO OVERWEIGHT FROM EQUAL WEIGHT AT BARCLAYS
- NORDEX (NDX1 GY) DOWNGRADED TO REDUCE FROM ADD AT ALPHAVALUE
- SFR (SFR FP) DOWNGRADED TO HOLD FROM BUY AT HSBC
- SAINT-GOBAIN (SGO FP) RAISED TO EQUAL WEIGHT FROM UNDERWEIGHT AT BARCLAYS
- GECINA (GFC FP) UPGRADED TO OUTPERFORM FROM NEUTRAL AT EXANE
- FERRARI (RACE) DOWNGRADED TO UNDERWEIGH FROM OVERWEIGHT AT MORGAN STANLEY
- LAFARGEHOLCIM (LHN VX) CUT TO UNDERWEIGHT FROM EQUAL WEIGHT AT BARCLAYS
- RICHEMONT (CFR VX) UPGRADED TO REDUCE FROM SELL AT ALPHAVALUE
- ALFA LAVAL (ALFA SS) UPGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM UNDERPERFORM AT CREDIT SUISSE