In Asian Equity Markets stocks were in a cautious mood on Thursday as concerns grew over the Chinese economy after a run of soft data, while the risk of a sub par U.S. payrolls report kept the dollar on the defensive. The uncertainty kept Chinese blue chips flat, though speculation of more fiscal stimulus offered some support. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.2 percent from a five-week high. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.2 percent, while South Korea fell 0.9 percent. The Hang Seng index was up 0.08 percent at 26,047.95.
In Currency Markets the dollar loitered around multi-week lows on Thursday, pressured by softer-than-expected U.S. labour data as traders awaited a fuller jobs report, which is expected to guide the timing of the Fed’s pullback in bond buying. Moves in the Asia session were slight as traders awaited Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls data, with the euro holding firm at $1.1828 and the yen at 110.00 per dollar. Sterling also edged higher on the softer dollar and it last sat at $1.3774. The Australian dollar showed little reaction to a record trade surplus and held at $0.7366, shy of its overnight top at $0.7384.
In US Equity Markets the Nasdaq closed Wednesday at a record high, and the S&P 500 rose but just missed a fresh peak, as September kicked off with renewed buying of technology stocks and private payrolls data, which supported the case for dovish monetary policy. The Dow fell 0.14 percent, to 35,312.53, the S&P 500 gained 0.03 percent, to 4,524.09 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.33 percent, to 15,309.38. PBF Energy Inc, whose 190,000 barrel-per-day Chalmette, Louisiana, refinery lost power following the storm, fell 6.8 percent on Wednesday, taking its losses this week to 11.2 percent.
In Commodities Markets oil prices traded little changed on Wednesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed to stick to their existing policy of gradual crude output increases. Brent futures fell 4 cents to settle at $71.59 a barrel while U.S. crude rose 9 cents to settle at $68.59 a barrel. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,812.55 per ounce. Meanwhile, silver rose 1 percent to $24.13 per ounce, having hit an over three-week high. Platinum eased 1.2 percent to $1,000.01 and palladium fell 0.8 percent to $2,447.44.
In European Equity Markets stocks closed higher on Wednesday as fresh signs of weakness in Asian economies were offset by hopes for more stimulus, while investors shook off concerns about rising inflation. The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.5 percent to end at 473.12 points, and was within striking distance of its record high of 476.16. Retail and travel & leisure stocks were the top sectoral gainers, rising 1.8 percent each. Supermarket group Carrefour was the worst performer on the STOXX 600, down 5.5 percent as luxury goods billionaire Bernard Arnault sold the 5.7 percent stake he owned in the company.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields hovered around the unchanged mark on Wednesday in low-volume afternoon trading as the market focused on the government’s jobs report due out on Friday. The benchmark 10-year yield, which rose as high as 1.334 percent, was last unchanged at 1.302 percent. The five-year note yield, which is more sensitive to intermediate interest rate hikes, was last up almost a basis point at 0.7804 percent. The gap between five-year notes and 30-year bonds also contracted. It was last 1.39 basis points flatter at 113.69 basis points.