In Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks slipped on Friday, snapping a seven-day winning streak as investors shunned risk and cashed in on recent gains after a sharp fall on Wall Street and weaker commodities prices. The Nikkei index lost 0.5 percent to end the day at 19,596.91. The benchmark index added 1.7 percent for the week for its fourth consecutive week of gains. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 1.1 percent, and was poised to end the week flat. Toshiba Corp tumbled 5.9 percent after fresh revelations of fiscal 2012 and 2013 losses at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse dampened hope for quick closure on the company’s $1.3 billion accounting scandal.
In US Equity Markets Wall Street suffered its worst session in over a month on Thursday as lower commodity prices weighed on energy and materials stocks and comments by a FED policymaker hinted at an approaching interest-rate hike. The S&P 500 lost 1.4 percent to 2,045.97. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.22 percent to 5,005.08. Retailers were a bright spot after Kohl’s reported better-than-expected quarterly net sales, sending its shares up 6.1 percent. PayPal’s shares slid 2.1 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported Apple was in talks with U.S. banks to develop a rival payment service. Apple lost 0.3 percent. Cisco fell 4 percent in extended trade after it posted its fiscal first-quarter results.
In Currency Markets the dollar stalled on Friday, on track to post weekly losses against the euro and yen, as the market’s appetite for risk receded amid a tumble in equities that pulled the greenback further away from its recent highs. The dollar fetched 122.60 yen after capping off three straight days of losses on Thursday. The euro traded at $1.0796 after rebounding sharply from a low of $1.0691. The Aussie nudged up 0.1 percent to $0.7134 after rallying more than 1 percent on Thursday as the upbeat employment data reduced the odds of a near-term rate cut by the RBA. The loonie touched a 6-week low of C$1.3342 to the greenback on Thursday.
In Commodities Markets oil prices tumbled to near the 6 1/2-year lows touched in August, when financial markets were gripped by fear of a hard landing for the Chinese economy. U.S. crude futures hovered around a 2-1/2 month low of $41.54 per barrel on a persistent rise in U.S. stockpiles, and were poised for a 6.3 percent decline for the week. Brent crude futures fell 3.9 percent on Thursday to $44.04 per barrel, edging near their 6 1/2-year low of $42.23. They last stood at $44.05, eyeing a weekly fall of 7.1 percent. Gold edged back up to $1,082.06 from a six-year low of $1,074.30 per ounce, extending its loss so far this month to 5.3 percent.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond benchmark yields fell to two-week lows on Friday as a slide in equities favoured safe-haven debt. A regular JGB-buying operation by the Bank of Japan also supported bonds. The central bank bought 780 billion yen ($6.36 billion) of 5-year to 40-year bonds on Friday as part of its extensive quantitative easing scheme. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield fell half a basis point to 0.30 percent, its lowest since Oct. 30. The 20-year yield lost 1 basis point to 1.07 percent. The super long maturities has been supported after an auction of 30-year debt on Thursday attracted firm investor demand.