In Asian Equity Markets the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which returned to trade after being offline for most of the week due to the Lunar New Year holidays, fell 0.49 percent, as shares of Chinese tech heavyweight Tencent declined about 1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 2 percent. Shares of Sony, however, bucked the overall trend and jumped about 4.9 percent after the company announced its first-ever share buyback of $910 million. South Korea’s Kospi also declined 1.2 percent. The ASX 200 in Australia fell more than 0.4 percent.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar held near a two-week high on Friday, as demand for safe-haven assets rose on uncertainties about the path of U.S.-China trade negotiations and broader worries about slowing global growth. Sterling was marginally lower at $1.2950. The Aussie dollar fell 0.3 percent to $0.7076 in Asian trade as the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its growth forecasts. The Aussie has shed 2.4 percent of its value so far this week after the central bank signalled a shift from its long-standing tightening bias earlier this week.
In Commodities Markets oil markets fell on Friday, pulled down by an economic slowdown, although supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela provided crude with some support. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures stood at $52.20 per barrel, down 44 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last settlement. WTI dropped by around 2.5 percent the previous session. International Brent crude oil futures were down by 44 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $61.19 per barrel, after falling 1.7 percent the previous session.
In US Equity Markets stocks fell more than 1 percent on Thursday as worries that the United States and China would not be able to reach a trade deal intensified earlier concerns about slowing global economic growth. The S&P 500 lost 1.26 percent, to 2,697.06 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.43 percent, to 7,269.87. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index fell 2.7 percent. Chip-makers get a large chunk of their revenue from Chinese customers. Energy stocks fell 2.3 percent, the largest percentage decline among S&P 500 sectors, as crude prices fell.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell for a third straight day on Thursday, in line with declines in Europe and Britain. Soft German data and the growth warnings, by the European Commission on Europe and the BoE on Britain, prompted investors to seek cover in U.S. government debt. Germany’s 10-year bond yields dropped to their lowest level in more than two years, taking a step closer to zero percent, after the European Commission made sharp cuts to its European growth and inflation forecasts. U.S. 10-year note yields fell to 2.651 percent.