In Asian Equity Markets stocks advanced on Thursday as economic data from China was largely more resilient than expected, and as U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said tapering of its massive stimulus was still a way off. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.4 percent, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rising 1.0 percent. Mainland Chinese shares were little changed with CSI300 index almost flat. Japan’s Nikkei bucked the trend, with Nikkei falling 0.9 percent, hurt by worries about rising domestic COVID-19 infections.
In Currency Markets the dollar traded largely unchanged in Europe early Thursday, stabilizing after Wednesday’s weakness following Fed chair Jerome Powell insistence that it was too soon to withdraw the central bank’s hefty monetary support for the economy. The Dollar Index traded marginally lower at 92.350. Against Japanese yen, the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 109.88 yen, euro was marginally lower at $1.1832, having climbed from close to its three-month low of 1.1772, Sterling fell slightly to $1.3851, while the risk-sensitive Aussie dollar fell 0.2 percent to $0.7463.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 ended with a gain after briefly hitting an intra-day record in a choppy session on Wednesday, as investors balanced worries about inflation with reassuring comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. The Dow rose 0.13 percent to end at 34,933.43 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.12 percent to 4,374.38. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.22 percent to 14,644.95. Of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, utilities, real estate and consumer staples were among the strongest, each up about 0.9 percent, while energy sank about 3 percent.
In Commodities Markets gold rose on Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reassured investors that the central bank would continue its accommodative monetary policy despite a spike in inflation readings. Spot gold rose about 1 percent to $1,824.75 per ounce. Elsewhere, palladium edged up 0.2 percent at $2,833.50 an ounce, while platinum rose 2.3 percent to $1,130.01. Silver climbed 0.8 percent to $26.18 per ounce. Brent crude fell $1.73 to settle at $74.76 a barrel. U.S. crude settled down $2.12 at $73.13 a barrel.
In European Equity Markets stocks fell from record highs on Wednesday as global investor mood soured on signs of increasing inflationary pressure, while travel stocks fell on worries over the Delta variant’s spread in the continent. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3 percent after hitting a record high in the previous session. Travel & leisure slid 0.8 percent, with TUI shedding 2.9 percent on reports that the world’s largest holiday company had cancelled more holidays until August. UK’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4 percent on a stronger pound after data showed British inflation rose to 2.5 percent in June.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday maintained his view that strong inflation will be temporary, even after data showed for the second day that price pressures rose more than expected in June. Benchmark 10-year yields fell six basis points on Wednesday to 1.356 percent. The yield curve between two-year and 10-year notes flattened to 112 basis points. Inflation expectations fell slightly, with breakeven rates on five-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) falling to 2.56 percent, from 2.60 percent earlier on Wednesday.