In Asian Equity Markets indices edged up in Friday morning trade. Mainland Chinese stocks were up in early trade, with the Shanghai composite rising about 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also gained 0.3%. Shares of Chinese lenders rose in the morning, with China Construction Bank adding 0.5% and Bank of Communications gaining 0.19%. Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.55%, with shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group jumping 1.21%. In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.1%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.75%.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar nursed losses against most major currencies on Friday, as central banks in Switzerland and the UK refrained from following the Federal Reserve in cutting rates, while risk appetite ebbed on caution about U.S-China trade talks. Sterling hit a two-month high of $1.2560 against the greenback overnight after EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said he thought Brussels could reach a deal with Britain to leave the European Union. The Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan all kept their policies on hold on Thursday.
In Commodities Markets oil prices were on track for a more-than-7% jump this week, their biggest in months, as early trading on Friday saw gains extended on fresh tensions in the Middle East after a key Saudi Arabian supply hub was knocked out in an attack last weekend. Friday’s rises came after a Saudi-led coalition launched a military operation north of Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah, as the United States worked with Middle East and European nations to build a coalition to deter Iranian threats after the Saudi attack.
In US Equity Markets gains in Microsoft and healthcare shares boosted Wall Street’s main indexes on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates as expected and left the door open for further monetary easing. Shares of the software giant rose 1.5% and drove the broader technology sector up 0.37% after the company unveiled a $40 billion stock buyback plan. The S&P 500 was up 0.28%, at 3,015.22. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.31%, at 8,202.63. Shares of retailer Target Corp rose nearly 1% after it announced a $5 billion share buyback plan.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell on Thursday after the Federal Reserve meeting minutes on Wednesday showed division among policymakers on whether further rate cuts are likely, and as pressures in the short-term funding markets eased. The yield curve between two-year and 10-year notes has flattened to 2 basis points, from 7 basis points before the Fed statement. Benchmark 10-year notes gained 4/32 in price to yield 1.770%, down from 1.784% on Wednesday.