In Asian Equity Markets stocks were a touch below a recent three-month top on Thursday with China a tad weaker as investors weighed inflation concerns ahead of key U.S. economic data while oil prices rose to near 1-1/2 year highs. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent to 711 points. It went as high as 712.57 on Wednesday, a level not seen since early March. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.4 percent. Australian stocks climbed to all-time highs as investors cheered stronger-than-expected economic growth data released on Wednesday. Chinese shares were marginally softer.
In Currency Markets the dollar edged higher on Thursday, remaining near five-month lows, ahead of key economic data which could influence the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy thinking. The dollar index was up 0.1 percent at 90.025, recovering from the week’s low of 89.662, a level not seen since early January. Euro traded 0.1 percent lower at $1.2196, while Sterling fell 0.1 percent to 1.4153, easing off a three-year high of 1.4250 reached Tuesday. Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.2 percent to 109.77 yen. Aussie fell 0.2 percent to $0.7733.
In US Equity Markets main indexes posted slim gains on Wednesday ahead of key U.S. economic data due later in the week as investors weighed inflation concerns and a fresh rise in so-called “meme stocks.” The Dow rose 0.07 percent, to 34,600.38, the S&P 500 gained 0.14 percent, at 4,208.12 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.14 percent, to 13,756.33. The S&P 500 energy sector, the best-performing group this year, extended its rise, gaining 1.7 percent as oil prices pushed higher. The materials sector fell 0.9 percent.
In Commodities Markets oil prices touched the highest level in more than a year on lift from a decision by OPEC and allies to stick to the plan to gradually restore supply. Brent rose 1.6 percent, to settle at $71.35 a barrel. U.S. WTI crude rose 1.6 percent, to settle at $68.83 a barrel. Gold prices rose on Wednesday, hovering below a near five-month peak hit the previous session. Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,906.80 per ounce. Among other precious metals, palladium was steady at $2,860.21 per ounce, silver gained 0.7 percent to $28.10, and platinum fell 0.2 percent to $1,189.10.
In European Equity Markets stocks stayed near record levels on Wednesday, helped by energy and consumer stocks, while strong economic data from the United States and Europe buoyed investor sentiment in a mostly quiet day of trading. The pan-European STOXX 600 index traded 0.3 percent higher. Data showing a strong expansion in U.S. and European factory activity in May lifted world shares to fresh highs on Tuesday. Swedish truckmaker Volvo rose 3.5 percent as its board proposed that the proceeds from the sale of UD Trucks be distributed to shareholders.
In Bond Markets Treasury yields were modestly lower on Wednesday, trading in a tight range as investors held off from making big moves ahead of private payrolls data on Thursday and the monthly federal jobs report on Friday. The 10-year Treasury yield was last down 2.1 basis points to 1.594 percent. The benchmark yield has been trading within a range of 1.55 percent to 1.64 percent for more than a week. The two-year yield has remained anchored since the Federal Reserve cut rates near zero last year. The two-year was flat at 0.147 percent.