Europe Stocks, U.S. Futures Gain; Bonds Steady: Markets Wrap
European stocks edged higher with U.S. futures following a mixed session in Asia on Thursday as investors assessed warning signals for growth amid the latest trade developments. Treasury yields steadied near their lowest since 2017.
The Stoxx Europe 600 gained, led by energy firms, while S&P 500 Index futures pointed to a positive start a day after the benchmark closed at the lowest since March. Japan’s stocks pared losses by the close in Tokyo, while shares fell in Hong Kong, China and Australia. In South Korea, they clawed back much of the previous day’s slide. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.28% after falling as low as 2.21% Wednesday. The dollar traded near a five-month high, while the euro and pound were steady.
Investors are gauging warning signals in fixed-income markets with little expectation of a quick improvement in the global growth outlook or U.S.-China trade tensions. The yield gap between three-month and 10-year Treasuries, often watched as an early signal of pending recession, slid to a 2007 low Wednesday, while the possibility that Beijing may cut exports of rare-earth minerals threatened to open up another front in the trade war.
The latest clues on the health of the American economy will arrive when first-quarter revised GDP lands on Thursday, followed by the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation Friday.
“People’s working assumption now is that a deal is unlikely to happen any time soon, that there are fairly entrenched positions on both sides,” said Gordon Brown, co-head of global portfolios at Western Asset Management Co., which oversees about $415 billion in assets. “What appeared to be something that looked as if they were going to be able to agree on, now we’ve moved quite far away from that. It’s hard to see this being resolved in the short term.”
Elsewhere, oil rebounded to climb back above $59 after the release of an industry report showing a much bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.
Here are some key events coming up:
- China provides a first peek at its May economic performance on Friday, with economists anticipating the official manufacturing PMI will tick down to 49.9 amid the worsening trade war with the U.S.
- U.S. first-quarter revised GDP data are due Thursday.
- On Friday, data is due on the Fed’s preferred measure of price pressures; the gauge, which excludes food an energy, is forecast to be steady at an annual 1.6%.
And these are the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.4% as of 8:10 a.m. London time.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3%.
- The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.3%, the first retreat in a week.
- The MSCI Emerging Market Index jumped 0.7%, the highest in more than a week on the biggest increase in eight weeks.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%, the highest in more than five months.
- The euro gained less than 0.05% to $1.1133.
- The British pound climbed 0.1% to $1.2634.
- The onshore yuan increased 0.1% to 6.905 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries increased two basis points to 2.28%, the largest climb in more than a week.
- The yield on two-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 2.13%.
- Germany’s 10-year yield climbed two basis points to -0.16%, the largest increase in a month.
- Japan’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to -0.077%, the biggest surge in six weeks.
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1% to $59.39 a barrel, the highest in more than a week.
- Iron ore decreased 1.2% to $100.81 per metric ton, the lowest in a week.
- Sugar rose 1% to $0.1187 a pound, the highest in more than two weeks on the largest rise in more than a week.