In Asian Equity Markets stocks fell on Monday ahead of a week packed with central bank meetings and U.S. inflation data. The mood in equity markets was cautious, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan easing 1.0 percent. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.6 percent, having shed 2.6 percent last week, while Chinese blue chips lost 1.8 percent. China’s inflation figures surprised on the high side on Monday and while relatively modest at 1.5 percent year-on-year in March, still dented hopes for aggressive policy easing from Beijing.

In Currency Markets the euro made a firm start to the week on investor relief that incumbent Emmanuel Macron led first-round voting in the French presidential election. The euro briefly flickered as high as $1.0955 in thin early hours of the Asia session, before settling about 0.15 percent higher than Friday’s close at $1.0890. Against the Japanese currency the dollar was firm and bought 124.32 yen. The New Zealand dollar wobbled 0.2 percent lower to $0.6836, while the Canadian dollar held at C$1.2583 per greenback. Elsewhere, the Australian dollar also eased 0.2 percent to $0.7447.

In US Equity Markets the Dow rose and the S&P 500 ended lower in choppy trade on Friday, as beaten-down bank shares gained, and investors grappled with how best to deal with an economy that could skid as the Federal Reserve moves to aggressively tackle inflation. The Dow rose 0.4 percent, to 34,721.12, the S&P 500 lost 0.27 percent, to 4,488.28 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.34 percent, to 13,711.00. The big rate-sensitive lenders all rose, with JPMorgan Chase & Co gaining 1.8 percent, Bank of America Corp 0.7 percent, Citigroup Inc 1.7 percent and Goldman Sachs Group Inc 2.3 percent.

In Commodities Markets oil prices rose 2 percent on Friday but notched their second straight weekly decline after countries announced plans to release crude from their strategic stocks. Brent crude futures settled up 2.19 percent, at $102.78 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $2.23 to $98.26. Spot gold rose 0.5 percent to $1,941.94 per ounce and was up 0.9 percent for the week. Silver rose 0.9 percent to $24.78 per ounce, up 0.6 percent for the week, while platinum gained 1.4 percent to $975.91. Palladium rose to $2,408.50.

In European Equity Markets stocks rallied on Friday to erase weekly losses, while investors focused on a tight race between far-right rival Marine Le Pen and incumbent Emmanuel Macron in the runup to the first round of French presidential elections over the weekend. The pan-European STOXX 600 index added 1.3 percent and ended the week about 0.5 percent higher, with healthcare stocks firming the most on the week. France’s CAC 40 index rose 1.3 percent but is down about 2 percent this week – the most among European peers – on election uncertainty.

In Bond Markets the U.S. Treasury 10-year yield hit a three-year high on Friday above 2.7 percent and the 2-year/10-year spread remained near its widest this week as traders bet on a more hawkish stance from the Federal Reserve. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was up 5.2 basis points to 2.706 percent while the 2-year note yield was up 5.8 basis points at 2.520 percent, leaving the 2/10 spread at 18.41 basis points. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was up 3.7 basis points to 2.726 percent. The breakeven rate on five-year U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) was last at 3.306 percent.

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