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Stocks struggle as US jobs data loom, bonds fall

Mar 09 2018 14:07
Robert Brand, Bloomberg

Cape Town - A lull settled over European stocks before key jobs data in the US, where announcements of exceptions to import tariffs and surprise talks with North Korea have traders weighing the outlook for a range of assets.

The dollar was steady and Treasuries declined along with euro-area bonds.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index nudged higher changed along with US equity-index futures, capping a week in which shares globally were roiled by President Donald Trump rolling out his protectionist trade agenda.

Asian stocks rose earlier on news of an agreement for an unprecedented summit between the leaders of the US and North Korea. Gold retreated and bund yields rose, while the yen fell.

Crude oil advanced, but still headed for a second week of declines as US shale output climbed.

The announcement that Trump has accepted an invitation to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fed risk-on sentiment in Asia as it helped ease geopolitical concerns tied to the nuclear-armed dictatorship.

The summit news overshadowed a warning from China that it will take "strong" measures to counter US trade tariffs.

Investors will now look to monthly US employment data for the next signal on the direction of asset markets as the Fed prepares to review interest rates later this month.

Elsewhere, Mexico’s peso and Canada’s loonie strengthened on news the two countries will be exempted from the US tariffs, while Norway’s krone climbed after February inflation rose above the central bank’s target.

Bitcoin fell below $9 000, heading for its worst weekly decline since February 2.

Here are the key events for the remainder of this week:

The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference runs through March 15 and overlaps with the National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing, through March 20. US monthly payrolls data come Friday.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.1% as of 11:26 am London time. Futures on the S&P 500 Index gained less than 0.05%. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index advanced 0.1%.

Germany’s DAX Index dipped 0.3%, the first retreat in a week. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3%.

Japan’s Topix index added 0.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.1%, South Korea’s Kospi rallied 1.1% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3%.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.1%. The euro decreased 0.1% to $1.2296, the weakest in more than a week.

The British pound gained less than 0.05% to $1.3814. The Japanese yen sank 0.5% to 106.77 per dollar, the weakest in more than a week on the biggest dip in more than two weeks.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries gained three basis points to 2.88%, the biggest gain in a week. Germany’s 10-year yield advanced two basis points to 0.63%.

Britain’s 10-year yield climbed two basis points to 1.47%. Japan’s 10-year yield declined less than one basis point to 0.05%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.7% to $60.54 a barrel. Gold declined 0.2% to $1 319.93 an ounce, the weakest in more than a week. LME copper advanced 0.2% to $6 845.50 per metric ton.

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equities  |  markets  |  european makets
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