In European Equity Markets stocks touched three-month highs on Thursday, helped by food and facilities group Sodexo rallying after a solid update and a share buyback announcement. Sodexo jumped 9.9 percent, its biggest one-day gain since July 2004, after saying it would cut costs further to cope with a volatile global economy. It also forecast higher revenues and operating profit for its 2015-16 financial year. Greek stocks fell, with shares in the country’s leading banks slumping as they unveiled discount share offerings aimed at raising funds to plug a capital shortfall. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.4 percent and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also rose 0.5 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar weakened across the board on Thursday after rising for four straight sessions, as investors cashed in recent gains driven by widespread expectations of a U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate increase next month. In late morning trading, the dollar fell 0.7 percent against the yen to 122.82. The yen strengthened after the Bank of Japan kept policy steady. The dollar index was down 0.7 percent at 98.951. Losses in the dollar index could be mainly attributed to the greenback’s fall against the euro. The euro on Thursday rose 0.7 percent to $1.0739. Meanwhile, the New Zealand and Australian dollars were the biggest gainers against the U.S. currency, both rising more than 1 percent.
In Commodities Markets Brent oil erased most of its early losses to trade steady on Thursday on support from a weak dollar and higher gasoline prices, while U.S. crude slipped on pressure from large inventory builds. Brent futures were down 6 cents at $44.08 a barrel, after hitting a session low of $43.70. U.S. crude’s benchmark West Texas Intermediate futures were down 45 cents at $40.30, after snapping below the key $40-a-barrel support for a second time since Wednesday. U.S. gasoline futures rose more than 1 percent to $1.29 a gallon after a report that Irving Oil’s planned restart of the gasoline-making unit at its 300,000-barrels-per-day refinery in St. John, New Brunswick had been delayed beyond the Nov. 15 target.
In US Equity Markets U.S. indexes wobbled on Thursday as healthcare stocks snapped a three-day rally after UnitedHealth cut its profit forecast, offsetting gains in technology stocks. UnitedHealth fell 4 percent, making the health insurer the biggest drag on the Dow. Keurig Green Mountain jumped 22.7 percent after its quarterly results beat estimates. The S&P 500 was down 0.17 percent, at 2,080.07 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 0.06 percent, at 5,078.48. Data on Thursday appeared to support the Federal Reserve’s view of a strengthening labor market ahead of its meeting next month. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week.
In Bond Markets longer-dated U.S. Treasuries fared better than shorter-dated issues on Thursday after data showed fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, further supporting the view that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December. The 30-year bond was up 26/32 in price to yield 3.000 percent, down 4 basis points from late on Wednesday, and the five-year note was up 1/32 in price to yield 1.667 percent, down 1 basis point on the day. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were up 6/32 in price for a yield of 2.245 percent, down from 2.268 percent late Wednesday.