Stocks Meander in Holiday-Hit Trading; Pound Rises: Markets Wrap

Updated on
  • Markets in London, New York and Shanghai closed on Monday
  • Italian bonds drop on early election concern; euro slips

Citi's Levkovich Sees Positive Surprise Ahead for Markets

Global stocks were mixed and the dollar and euro traded sideways amid thin trading as investors weighed the latest comments from a Federal Reserve official on the path of U.S. borrowing costs and Mario Draghi’s dovish message to the European Parliament.

With markets in the U.K., U.S. and China closed for holidays, volumes were depressed, limiting price movements. Sterling led gains among G-10 currencies as it recouped some of Friday’s retreat, and Italian assets fell as former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi raised the prospect of an early election. Brazil’s real rebounded from earlier losses, while Mexico’s peso strengthened even after bullish wagers fell. South Africa’s rand dropped after President Jacob Zuma survived a bid by some members of his party to oust him.

Beyond local politics, the key challenge for investors remains gauging the ability of the world’s economy to withstand rising borrowing costs. Despite the record highs posted by global equities, the rally in bond markets suggests traders are cautious. In a speech in Singapore on Monday, Fed Bank of San Francisco President John Williams reaffirmed his view that a total of three interest-rate increases makes sense for the world’s biggest economy this year.

“The U.S. economy is about as close to the Fed’s dual-mandate goals as we’ve ever been,” Williams said. “With the attainment of our dual-mandate goals close at hand, it’s more important than ever for monetary policy to work toward what I like to call a ‘Goldilocks economy’ -– an economy that doesn’t run too hot or too cold.”

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Don’t let the quiet start to the week fool you. Here are some of the key events coming up:

  • Euro-area data this week may show the strongest economic confidence in a decade on Tuesday. The preliminary headline inflation rate for the region will come on Wednesday.
  • Fed speakers are competing to provide the last word before the FOMC’s June 13-14 meeting, it seems. Lael Brainard and Robert Kaplan will be in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
  • The U.S. jobs report Friday should bolster the case for a rate hike, with a gain of 180,000 jobs expected.
  • Brazil’s central-bank decision on Wednesday will probably see a cut of 75 to 100 basis points from the current 11.25 percent, according to economists.
  • China’s May manufacturing PMIs on Wednesday might indicate that the nation’s 2017 growth has already peaked.
  • The EIA is due to release its monthly supply reports Wednesday.

And here are Monday’s main movers:

Stocks 

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1 percent, dropping for a second day.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose by less than 0.1 percent after the underlying gauge closed at a record high on Friday.

Currencies and Bonds

  • The British pound added 0.3 percent after a 1.1 percent decline Friday.
  • The shared currency dropped after Draghi said the euro area still needs exceptional support.
  • Bloomberg’s Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
  • Brazil’s real and Mexico’s peso rose at least 0.1 percent.
  • The rand led losses among 24 major emerging-market currencies.
  • The yen was little changed at 111.28 per dollar.
  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was 2.25 percent at the end of last week. There was no cash trading on the securities Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday.
  • The yield on 10-year Italian bonds jumped eight basis points after former Prime Minister Renzi raised the prospect of an early election.

Commodities

  • West Texas oil rose 0.4 percent to $49.99 a barrel.
  • Copper for July added 0.2 percent at 2:30 p.m. on the Comex after falling 1.2% on Friday, capping third weekly loss in four; spot gold little changed

Asia

  • South Korea’s Kospi fell for the first time in seven sessions, slipping from a record. North Korea tested another missile, days after world leaders urged Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear-weapons program.
  • Chinese developers lifted the Hang Seng Index, with China Evergrande Group surging to a record in Hong Kong.

— With assistance by Adam Haigh, and Robert Brand

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