In Asian Equity Markets indices were mostly traded higher as investors reacted to the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision and economic outlook. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.02 percent while the Topix index added 1.08 percent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.12 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.79 percent. Chinese mainland shares also traded higher: The Shanghai composite was up 1.29 percent while the Shenzhen composite added 1.74 percent. Australia’s ASX 200 was near flat as the heavily weighted financial subindex fell 0.28 percent.
In Currency Markets the British pound paused for breath on Friday but stayed on course for its biggest weekly gain in seven weeks after the UK parliament voted to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union, following a decision to avert a no-deal Brexit. The yen was off one-week lows after the Bank of Japan kept its policy on hold and a report that North Korea is considering suspending nuclear talks with the United States. Sterling last traded at $1.3252, having slipped further from Wednesday’s nine-month high of $1.3380, with its fall of 0.76 percent on Thursday.
In Commodities Markets oil prices were steady on Friday, supported as production cuts led by OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran likely created a slight deficit in global supply in the first quarter of 2019. Brent crude oil futures were at $67.15 per barrel, 8 cents below their last close, but still within a dollar of the $68.14 2019-high reached the previous day. U.S. WTI crude oil futures were at $58.55 per barrel, down 6 cents from their last settlement, and not far off their 2019-high of $58.74 from the previous day.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 slipped on Thursday, snapping a three-day streak of gains, as uncertainty over when a trade deal between the United States and China would be reached left investors on edge. Chip-makers, which rely on China for a large portion of their revenue, lost ground, with the Philadelphia SE chip index off 0.6 percent. The S&P 500 lost 0.09 percent, to 2,808.48, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.16 percent, to 7,630.91. Shares of Adobe were down 2.1 percent in extended trading after the company gave a disappointing revenue forecast.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury prices fell on Thursday in quiet trading overall, with the sharpest falls seen on the long end of the curve, pressured by corporate debt supply and some selling from Japanese investors ahead of Japan’s fiscal year end this month. U.S. 10-year note prices fell, as yields rose to 2.628 percent from 2.610 percent late on Wednesday. U.S. 30-year bond yields were up at 3.044 percent from 3.01 percent on Wednesday. On the short end, U.S. 2-year yields advanced to 2.462 percent, compared with Wednesday’s 2.453 percent.