In Asian Equity Markets stocks were mixed in Friday morning trade. Mainland Chinese stocks were lower in early trade, with the Shanghai composite down 0.2%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was slightly lower. Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan traded down by 0.1%, while the Topix index fell 0.22%. Over in South Korea, however, the Kospi advanced 0.23%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.25% as the sectors mostly fell. Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.09%.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar was steady on Friday, having regained some traction against its peers after stronger-than-expected U.S. inflation data tempered the prospect of an aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate cut later this month. The core U.S. consumer price index excluding food and energy components rose 0.3% in June, the largest increase since January 2018, data on Thursday showed. The euro was flat at $1.1254, having pulled back from a high of $1.1285 scaled on Thursday prior to the U.S. inflation data..
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose on Friday as U.S. oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico cut more than half their output in the face of a tropical storm and as tensions continued in the Middle East. Brent crude futures were up 37 cents, or 0.6%, at $66.89 per barrel. The international benchmark settled down 0.7% on Thursday after hitting its highest since May 30 at $67.52 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 34 cents, or 0.6%, at $60.54 a barrel. The U.S. benchmark closed 0.38% lower on Thursday after marking its highest since May 23 at $60.94.
In US Equity Markets stocks rose on Thursday on improved bets of an interest rate cut following Fed chief Jerome Powell’s dovish remarks, while healthcare stocks were mixed after the Trump administration withdrew a rule that would kill rebates. A 5.16% gain in UnitedHealth Group Inc helped the Dow break above 27,000 points for the first time. Cigna Corp jumped more than 11%, leading gains in the S&P 500 index, while drug distributors such as McKesson Corp rose 1.2%. The S&P 500 was up 0.22%, at 2,999.65 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.19%, at 8,217.74.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose, with the biggest gains in long-dated maturities, after Thursday’s auction of $16 billion 30-year bonds met weak demand and U.S. underlying consumer prices recorded their biggest gain in 1-1/2 years. The two-year yield, a proxy for market expectations of changes in rate policy, rose modestly, last up 2.8 basis points to 1.85%. The benchmark 10-year was last up 6.3 basis points to 2.12%.