In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended the session 0.3 percent lower, with sectors and major bourses mostly in negative territory. Italy's FTSE MIB index fell 0.2 percent after Bloomberg reported the government of the euro zone's third-largest economy could soon cut its gross domestic product forecast. Looking at individual stocks, UDG Healthcare rose toward the top of the European benchmark. It comes after Barclays upgraded its stock recommendation to "overweight" from "equal weight." Shares of the Irish health firm rose 4.5 percent.
In Currency Markets sterling snapped a three-day rising streak and fell on Thursday as concerns rose that Britain may be headed for a protracted Brexit delay. The upper house of Britain’s parliament started debating legislation to force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay to prevent a potentially disorderly departure on April 12 without a deal, after the lower house of parliament approved the bill by a single vote. The pound fell 0.2 percent to the day’s low at $1.3134. Against the euro, it weakened 0.1 percent to 85.48.
In Commodities Markets brent oil prices resumed their climb toward $70 per barrel on Thursday as expectations of tight global supply outweighed pressure from rising U.S. inventories and production. International benchmark Brent futures rose 16 cents to $69.47. Brent touched $69.96 on Wednesday - the highest since Nov. 12, when it last traded above $70. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slipped 13 cents to $62.33 a barrel. The contract hit $62.99 on Wednesday, also the highest since November.
In US Equity Markets stocks inched higher on Thursday driven by Facebook Inc and Boeing Co, adding to gains following a strong start to the quarter, while investors kept a close watch on U.S.-China trade talks. The S&P 500 was up 0.17%, at 2,878.22 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.17%, at 7,908.63. Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.76% rise in the communication services sector. A big decliner was Tesla Inc, which fell 9% after the electric carmaker’s deliveries fell 31% in the first quarter on challenges in shipping to Europe and China.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields were little changed on Thursday, hovering at 1-1/2 week highs as traders awaited a possible breakthrough in the latest round of trade negotiations between China and the United States. The yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were 2.519 percent, little changed from Wednesday. They hit a 1-1/2 week peak of 2.528% in the previous session. On the supply front, the U.S. Treasury Department will announce details on its sales of three-year, 10-year and 30-year bonds next week.