In Asian Equity Markets indices were mostly in positive territory on Friday following the easing of U.S.-Iran tensions, and after U.S. stocks shot to new highs overnight. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.10%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.25%, while the Topix was up 0.20%. Over in South Korea, the Kospi climbed nearly 0.52%. On the earnings front, Japan’s Familymart, the country’s second-largest convenience store chain, is set to report third quarter results on Friday. Ahead of the release, the shares bounced 2.55% in the morning.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar looked set to post its best week in two months on Friday, buoyed by easing Middle East tensions and upbeat U.S. economic data. The greenback is 1.3% firmer on the yen for the week so far, and up 0.6% against a basket of currencies. Moves in Asian morning trade were slight. The dollar was steady at $1.1105 per euro and $1.3066 per pound. Against the yen it held at 109.53 yen per dollar, near a two-week high hit overnight. It sat near a three-week high on the New Zealand dollar at $0.6611.
In Commodities Markets oil prices dropped on Friday extending days of losses as the threat of war in the Middle East receded and investors switched attention to economic growth prospects and the rise in U.S. crude oil and product inventories. Brent crude fell 20 cents, or 0.3%, at $65.17, and is heading for its first decline in six weeks, down 5%. WTI was down 20 cents, or 0.3%, at $59.36 and also on track for a first weekly drop in six, nearly 6% from last Friday’s close based on the latest prices.
In US Equity Markets stocks hit record highs on Thursday as optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal firmed and as Apple and other market heavyweights posted strong gains. Apple Inc gained 1.7% on twin support from data showing iPhone sales jumped more than 18% in China in December, as well as a price target hike by Jefferies on expectations of a strong finish to 2019. The S&P 500 technology sector rose 0.9%, the top gainer among sectors. The S&P 500 gained 0.56%, to 3,271.26 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.68%, to 9,190.99.
In Bond Markets Treasury yields fell on Thursday afternoon after strong demand at a $16 billion auction of 30-year bonds drove prices higher. Prices across maturities continued to rise after the auction. The 30-year bond yield was down 2.3 basis points at 2.337%. The short end of the yield curve was less affected, with the two-year yield last down 0.7 basis point at 1.576%. The 10-year Treasury yield was last trading down 1.4 basis points at 1.860%.