Open May 30
In Asian Equity Markets indices were mixed in Wednesday morning trade. Mainland Chinese shares declined in early trade, with the Shanghai composite falling 0.39%. Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.16%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.52% in morning trade, as shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing and Softbank Group declined. In Australia, the ASX 200 shed 0.58% as almost all the sectors traded lower. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.49%, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix trading higher.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar held steady against its key rivals on Thursday as escalating Sino-U.S. trade tensions forced investors to take shelter in safe-haven assets, including government bonds. Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar inched 0.03% lower to 98.113, hovering within reach of a two-year high of 98.371 reached a week ago. The index is up more than 2% for the year. The Australian dollar added 0.1% to $0.6923. The U.S. dollar was steady at 109.565 yen, about 0.5% above a more than three-month low of 109.02 yen touched on May 13.
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose on Thursday after an industry report showed a decline in U.S. crude inventories that exceeded analyst expectations. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 26 cents, or 0.4%, at $59.07 a barrel. They closed down 0.6% on Wednesday after hitting their lowest since March 12 at $56.88. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were up 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $69.59 a barrel. They fell nearly 1% in the previous session after falling as low as $68.08.
In US Equity Markets stocks fell on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing just above key support levels, as worries that a lengthy U.S.-China trade war would crimp global growth pushed investors into the safety of government bonds. The S&P 500 lost 0.69%, to 2,783.02 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.79%, to 7,547.31. Each of the 11 major S&P sectors were in negative territory, with utilities the worst performer. Johnson & Johnson fell 4.19% after a lawsuit that accused the drugmaker of fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic entered its second day of trial.
In Bond Markets benchmark U.S. Treasury yields fell to 20-month lows on Wednesday as Chinese newspapers warned of retaliation against the United States in a trade war that investors are increasingly concerned will drag down global economic growth. Benchmark U.S. 10-year note yields fell to 2.21%, the lowest since September 2017, before rising back to 2.24%. The yields have fallen from 2.61% on April 17 and from 2.77% on March 4. The yield curve between three-month bills and 10-year notes also inverted as far as 14 basis points. An inversion is widely seen as a precursor to a recession.
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