In Asian Equity Markets indices rose in subdued trading early trading Friday, looking to cap a full week of broad gains as investors hope that trade tensions will ease after a weekend meeting between the leaders of U.S. and China. Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.3%, on pace for its fifth straight gain, with advances by the mining and pharmaceutical sectors leading the way. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.6% while Shanghai Composite was up 0.2%,
In Currency Markets the US dollar was on tenterhooks Friday before a meeting of U.S. and Chinese leaders to discuss contention trade issues that might provide a catalyst for the near term direction of riskier assets such as stocks and safe havens including the greenback and the yen. The yen was quoted at 113.41, up a touch versus the dollar. The euro was steady at $1.1390, having risen in the last two sessions as the dollar wobbled on Powell’s comments.
In Commodities Markets oil prices firmed on Friday on expectations that OPEC and Russia will agree some form of production cuts next week, although swelling U.S. supplies kept markets in check. International Brent crude oil futures were at $59.81 per barrel, up 30 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 20 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $51.65 per barrel.
In US Equity Markets indices closed slightly lower on Thursday as tech and financial shares fell, erasing earlier gains stemming from Federal Reserve minutes showing the central bank opened the debate on when to pause further interest rate hikes. All three major U.S. indexes ended the session down a fraction of a percent. Twitter Inc fell 4.4 percent after a Politico report that Fox News boycotted the social media network seemed to fuel worries over a wider backlash.
In Bond Markets the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell as the two-year return rose on Thursday, flattening the yield curve, after minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy-making meeting showed October’s market volatility would not deter the U.S. central bank from raising interest rates in December and beyond. Minutes from the November meeting show almost all Fed officials agreed another interest rate increase was “likely to be warranted fairly soon”.