In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei rose for a second day on Thursday, with tech shares and travel stocks standing out as they tracked overnight gains on Wall Street. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 percent in early Asian trading, buoyed by a 0.5 percent gain in Australia’s resource-heavy shares and a 0.6 percent advance in mainland China’s blue chip stocks. Japan’s Nikkei was up 1.2 percent. The KOSPI index fell 0.4 percent as the central bank raised its policy rate to the highest since August 2019 in an unexpected move as it seeks to quell rising inflation.
In Currency Markets the dollar lost ground against most major peers on Thursday, falling from two year peak hit overnight, as U.S. yields paused their march higher after U.S data released earlier in the week showed inflation lower than some analysts had feared. The euro rose 0.2 percent on Wednesday ahead of the meeting, to $1.0911, and sterling gained 0.1 percent to a one week high of $1.3141, both extending larger gains made in the previous session. The dollar index was down 0.17 percent at 99.670, compared to Wednesday’s intraday peak of 100.52, its highest since May 2020.
In US Equity Markets stocks rallied to end sharply higher on Wednesday, powered by a recovery in interest-sensitive growth stocks as investors digested hot inflation data and a mixed bag of quarterly results. The Dow rose 1.01 percent, to 34,564.59, the S&P 500 gained 1.12 percent, to 4,446.59 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.03 percent, to 13,643.59. JPMorgan Chase & Co set the first-quarter earnings season off to an inauspicious start, reporting a 42 percent decrease in quarterly profit. The downbeat results from the biggest U.S. lender sent its shares down 3.2 percent.
In Commodities Markets oil prices jumped on Wednesday, as a large increase in U.S. crude inventories failed to soothe worries about tight global supply, with major oil traders expected to shun Russian barrels. Brent crude settled up 4 percent, to $108.78. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures ended up 3.7 percent, to $104.25. Spot gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,978.21 per ounce. Spot silver rose 1.6 percent to $25.74 per ounce, platinum gained 1.9 percent to $984.00, while palladium fell 0.5 percent to $2,314.48.
In European Equity Markets stocks retreated for a third straight session on Wednesday as anxiety about elevated inflation and its potential impact on upcoming earnings season dampened risk appetite. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.2 percent, with retail and technology stocks offsetting gains in miners. French luxury goods maker LVMH rose 1 percent as robust demand for Louis Vuitton and Dior products boosted first-quarter sales. Telecom Italia’s gained 2.9 percent after reports French telecoms group Iliad was interested in making an offer TIM’s domestic consumer service business.
In Bond Markets the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell on Wednesday after fresh data did not dissuade investors from believing that inflation may have peaked and a recent move higher in yields continued to unwind. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was down 3.4 basis points to 2.693 percent. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was down 2.7 basis points to 2.800 percent. The two-year U.S. Treasury yield was down 4.3 basis points at 2.346 percent. The breakeven rate on five-year U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) was last at 3.358 percent, after closing at 3.415 percent on Tuesday.