In Asian Equity Markets indices were mixed on Friday. The Shanghai composite added 0.35% and the Shenzhen component rose 0.86%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, on the other hand, shed 0.44%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.15% as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group jumped 2.96%. The Topix index also rose 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.17%, with shares of chipmaker SK Hynix falling more than 1%. Shares in Australia also traded lower as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.25%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.27% lower.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar held on to its gains versus the yen and the Swiss franc on Friday as a China-U.S. agreement to roll back tariffs on each others’ goods supported riskier assets, even as some reports suggest a preliminary trade pact is far from a done deal. The yen also nursed losses against the euro and the Australian dollar as progress in resolving a 16-month long trade war between the world’s two largest economies weakened demand for safe havens. The dollar held steady at 109.34 yen in Asia on Friday, close to a five-month high, and is headed for a 1.1% gain for the week.
In Commodities Markets crude oil futures fell on Friday amid lingering uncertainty on whether, and when, the United States and China will agree a long-awaited deal to end their bitter trade dispute, the gloom compounded by rising crude inventories in the United States. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 16 cents, or 0.3%, at $62.13 a barrel, after gaining 0.9% in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 23 cents, or 0.4%, at $56.92 a barrel. The contract rose 1.4% on Thursday. On Thursday, the Chinese commerce ministry said the two countries have agreed in the past two weeks to cancel trade tariffs in different phases, without giving a timeline.
In US Equity Markets the Dow and S&P 500 notched record closing highs on Thursday as the latest signs of progress in U.S.-China trade relations relieved investors, but a report raising fresh worries about the outlook for a deal limited the day’s gains. The S&P 500 gained 0.27%, to 3,085.18 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.28%, to 8,434.52. The S&P 500 technology index ended up 0.7%, with shares of Qualcomm Inc. up 6.3% after it forecast current-quarter profit above analysts’ estimates. Ralph Lauren Corp rose 14.7% after it topped second-quarter profit expectations, helped by a tighter control on expenses and strong demand for its Polo shirts and tweed jackets in China and Europe.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields surged to more than three-month highs on Thursday, exaggerated by technical factors, as reports that a U.S.-China agreement to roll back trade tariffs boosted global economic growth expectations. Benchmark 10-year note yields rose to 1.973%, the highest since Aug. 1, before falling back to 1.942%. They are up from 1.812% late Wednesday. The yield increases accelerated once they broke above 1.908%, which was an interim high reached in September. The backup in yields helped attract buyers to the Treasury Department’s auction of $19 billion in 30-year bonds, which saw strong demand from fund managers and central banks.