In Asian Equity Markets indices mostly declined in Friday morning trade. Mainland Chinese shares declined in morning trade, with the Shanghai composite falling 0.57%. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.06%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.62% as shares of index heavyweights Softbank Group and Fanuc declined. The Topix also slipped 0.76%. Shares of Nintendo fell around 3% after the company announced what one analyst described as “ultra-conservative guidance ” for the current fiscal year. Over in South Korea, the Kospi declined 0.57%.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar hovered near a two-year high against its peers on Friday, supported by strong U.S. capital goods orders and awaiting first-quarter GDP data which could further reinforce the greenback’s bullish standing. The euro was a touch higher at $1.1139 but within reach of $1.1117, its lowest level since June 2017 plumbed on Thursday. Sweden’s central bank said on Thursday that recent weak inflationary pressures meant an interest rate hike would come slightly later than it had planned, sending the Swedish crown to a 17-year low.
In Commodities Markets oil prices dipped on Friday on expectations that producer club OPEC will soon raise output to make up for a decline in exports from Iran following a tightening of sanctions by the United States against Tehran. Brent crude futures were at $74.09 per barrel, down 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $64.82 per barrel, down 39 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their previous settlement. China, the world’s biggest buyer of Iranian oil, this week formally complained to the United States over its unilateral Iran sanctions.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 closed just barely lower on Thursday, as a dive in industrial stocks and concerns about slowing global growth eclipsed gains in Facebook and Microsoft. The industrials sector fell 1.99% with hefty drags from 3M, United Parcel Service Inc and Raytheon Co after they reported disappointing results. Fedex Corp also fell after UPS’s profit miss. The S&P 500 lost 0.04%, to 2,926.17, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.21%, to 8,118.68. Gains in social media company Facebook lifted the communication services index 1%, making it the second biggest gainer.
In Bond Markets afternoon trade saw Treasury yields rise ahead of Friday’s U.S. gross domestic product report, which is expected to show growth of 2% in the first quarter, a strong outcome after a volatile start to the year in financial markets. The 10-year yield was last up 1 basis points to 2.533%. At either end of the curve, the two-year note yield was up 1 basis point to 2.330% and the 30-year bond yield was up less than half a basis point to 2.944%. The tick up in yields retraced some of Wednesday’s significant price gains.