European stock markets edged higher. The pound advanced after the BoE left interest rates unchanged
- The dollar continued to retreat in the wake of the Fed interest rate hike on Wednesday. The euro was 0.3 per cent stronger against the dollar at $1.0768. The greenback was down 0.1 per cent against the yen at Ұ113.25. The pound was 0.5 per cent firmer versus the dollar at $1.2356. The single currency was 0.2 per cent softer versus the pound at £0.8715. Sterling advanced after the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged at 0.25 per cent. The dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of half a dozen rivals, was down 0.5 per cent at 100.24.
- Dutch Prime minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right VVD party came first in a parliamentary election on Wednesday, winning 33 seats in the 150-strong House of Representatives. Geert Wilders’ far-right populist PVV party secured 20 seats, a worse result that opinion polls had predicted. The yield on the 10-year Dutch bond was up 3 basis points to 0.69 per cent. The 10-year German Bund yield added 3 basis points to 0.45 per cent. France’s equivalent maturity debt climbed 5 basis points to 1.08 per cent. Across the Atlantic, the 10-year US Treasury yield was up 4 basis points to 2.54 per cent, while the more monetary policy-sensitive 2-year yield was 3 basis points higher at 1.33 per cent.
- Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, settled 0.1 per cent lower at 51.74 dollars per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate, the US crude marker, was up 0.1 per cent at 48.79 dollars a barrel.
- In New York, the S&P 500 equity index slid 0.2 per cent to 2,381.38. Utilities led losses, finishing down 1.1 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day 0.1 per cent lower at 20,934.55. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite was barely changed at 5,900.76.
- By contrast, the pan-European Stoxx 600 advanced 0.7 per cent to 377.73, the highest level since December 2015. The UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.6 per cent to close at a record high of 7,415.95. The Xetra DAX in Frankfurt added 0.6 per cent to finish at 12,083.18. France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.6 per cent to 5,013.38. The AEX index in Amsterdam rose 0.6 per cent to close at a 10-year high of 514.53.
- In Asia, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 2.1 per cent. On the mainland, China’s Shanghai Composite climbed 0.8 per cent. The Topix index in Tokyo finished the day 0.1 per cent higher.
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