In European Equity Markets stocks ended higher on Wednesday in another session dominated by earnings, as French lender Credit Agricole led banking stocks to a three-week high.The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3 percent with the banking index the top sector, up 1.4 percent. Shares in Credit Agricole jumped 4.7 percent after France’s biggest retail bank beat forecasts with a smaller than expected earnings fall in the fourth quarter. Brewer Heineken rallied 3.7 percent after confirming its margin target. Swiss software provider Temenos lost 3.4 percent after reporting results and announcing a proposal to acquire Australia’s Rubik Financial. The Finnish packaging maker Huhtamaki rose 8.7 percent after reporting results.
In Currency Markets the dollar was flat on Wednesday as investors took profits after it reached a one-month high early in the session versus a group of currencies as U.S. data showed robust growth in retail sales and consumer prices in January. The euro rebounded from an one-month low against the greenback, last up 0.1 percent at $1.0587, while the dollar hovered near a two-week high versus the yen, last at 114.26 yen. Sterling was down 0.20 percent at $1.2441. The Australian and New Zealand dollars erased losses, with Aussie up 0.18 percent at $0.7677 and with Kiwi adding 0.10 percent to $0.7175. Against Swiss franc, the dollar edged up 0.15 percent to trade at 1.0077. The dollar index was flat at 101.19.
In Commodities Markets oil turned negative Wednesday, as falling gasoline futures weighed down crude prices on concerns that oversupply in the U.S. would limit the effect of OPEC’s record compliance with its supply-cut accord. U.S. crude stocks rose 9.5 million barrels last week, the U.S. EIA said, nearly three times more than forecast, but confirming a trade group’s report late Tuesday of a larger-than-expected build. Brent crude futures fell 30 cents to $55.67 a barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 26 cents to $52.94 a barrel. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,226.35 an ounce and silver was down 0.2 percent at $17.92 an ounce. Platinum was down 0.2 percent at $998.80 an ounce and palladium was up 0.8 percent at $784.90 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks were little changed on Wednesday, although the Dow and the Nasdaq managed to eke out record intraday highs, as investors assessed a spate of strong economic data and awaited Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 percent, at 20,524.66 and the S&P 500 lost 0.05 percent, at percent, at 2,336.27. The Nasdaq Composite was flat, at 5,782.55. Apple rose to a record high of $136.26 after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in the company. Procter & Gamble rose 2.7 percent after activist investor Trian Fund disclosed a stake in the consumer products company. AIG lost 7.7 percent after the commercial insurer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.
In Bond Markets Europe’s benchmark German bond yield hit a one-and-a-half week high on Wednesday after data reinforced the view that a strengthening U.S. economy could encourage the Federal Reserve to lift interest rates sooner rather than later. Germany’s 10-year bond yield – the euro zone benchmark – rose 2 basis points to nudge past Tuesday’s peak and hit a 1-1/2 week high of 0.39 percent. U.S. equivalents hit a 2-1/2 week peak after the data at 2.52 percent. Greek two-year bond yields climbed some 50 bps to 9.74 percent, while 10-year yields were 25 bps higher at 7.94 percent.