In Asian Equity Markets the Nikkei 225 rose 0.67% in morning trade while the Topix index was 0.47% higher. Shares of gaming firm Nintendo, however, fell more than 2.5% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to equal-weight from overweight. Mainland Chinese stocks rose in early trade, with the Shanghai composite up about 0.3% and the Shenzhen component gaining 0.57%. The Shenzhen composite also added 0.52%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.6%. In South Korea, the Kospi was 0.37% higher. Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7%.

 

In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar trod water on Friday as a week of mixed messages on the prospect of Sino-U.S. tariff rollbacks left traders on edge and currency markets paralyzed, ahead of the release of closely-watched manufacturing data. While the headlines tugged sentiment in all directions, the greenback was steady against the safe-haven Japanese yen at 108.63 yen per dollar, more or less where it began the week. China’s yuan, which is highly sensitive to trade news, was stable at 7.0313 per dollar. The British pound was steady at $1.2914, hemmed below $1.30 by the strong dollar and the uncertain outcome of the Dec. 12 election.

 

In Commodities Markets oil prices pulled back from their highest levels in nearly two months on Friday amid continued overtainty over whether the United States and China will be able to reach a partial trade deal that would lift some pressure on the global economy. That was more than enough to offset news of a likely extension of production cuts by major producers that drove prices higher in the previous session. Brent crude futures slid 31 cents, or 0.5%, to $63.66 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $58.20 a barrel, down 38 cents or 0.7%. Elsewhere, traders are also keeping a keen eye on the impact on oil production at OPEC countries Iran and Iraq amid ongoing protests.

 

In US Equity Markets stock indexes moved slightly lower on Thursday as investors moved to the sidelines with mixed messages and no concrete signs of progress on U.S.-China relations. The S&P 500 lost 0.16%, to 3,103.54, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.24%, to 8,506.21. Shares in TD Ameritrade Holding Corp jumped 16.9% after CNBC reported bigger rival Charles Schwab Corp was in talks to buy the discount brokerage. Schwab’s shares gained 7.3%. Rival E*Trade Financial lost 9.3%. Real estate showed the biggest decline at 1.4%, while technology was the biggest drag on the benchmark index with a 0.5% decline.

 

In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices fell on Friday, sending yields higher across the curve, as hopes for an interim agreement to de-escalate a bruising trade war between the United States and China hurt demand for safe havens. China will work to reach a preliminary deal with the United States as both sides keep communication channels open, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, in an attempt to allay fears talks might be unravelling. Benchmark 10-year JGB futures fell 0.32 point to 153.1, with a trading volume of 12,891 lots. The 10-year JGB yield rose 3 basis points to minus 0.085%. The 20-year JGB yield increased 2.5 bps to 0.265%.

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