In European Equity Markets stocks fell to a one-month low on the first trading day of the quarter on Friday, with energy stocks hit by weaker oil prices while Osram retreated after it was fell from Apple’s top supplier list. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 1.5 percent at its close, hitting its lowest level in a month earlier in the session. The benchmark index fell 7.7 percent in the first quarter. Osram decreased after falling from Apple’s list of its top suppliers but shares in steelmaker Thyssenkrupp rose 4.9 percent after German business paper Rheinische Post reported that India’s Tata Steel was planning to take a stake in Thyssenkrupp’s European steel unit.
In Currency Markets the dollar fell on Friday after recording its worst quarter in 6 1/2 years, with investors doubtful that a monthly U.S. jobs report will convince them to move up expectations for when interest rates will rise again. The dollar index was down 0.1 percent on Friday at 94.60, having hit a 5 1/2month low of 94.319 on Thursday. Against the yen, the dollar lost about 0.4 percent on Friday to 112.17. It fell more than 6 percent against the yen in the first quarter, its biggest loss since 2009, as market turmoil sent investors into the perceived safety of the Japanese currency. The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.1388, after gaining more than 4 percent for the quarter and hitting a more than five-month high of $1.4120 on Thursday.
In Commodities Markets oil lost 4 percent on Friday to open the second quarter, after a Saudi prince reportedly said the kingdom will not freeze production without Iran and other major producers doing so and data showed the global crude glut was likely to grow. Brent crude fell 4.2 percent, to $39.07 a barrel. It was on track to a similar loss on the week, after ending the first quarter up 6 percent and March 15 percent higher. U.S. crude fell $1.40 to $36.94 a barrel. It was on track to a 6 percent fall on the week, after a first-quarter gain of 4 percent and March rally of 14 percent. Gold futures fell to their lowest level in nearly six weeks on Friday. June gold lost 1.8 percent, to $1,213.10 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks were slightly higher on Friday after data pointed to strength in the U.S. labor market and a rebound in the manufacturing sector. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.12 percent, at 17,707.15, the S&P 500 was up 0.01 percent, at 2,059.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.21 percent, at 4,880.06. Five of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher. The healthcare sector rose 0.63 percent, boosted by Regeneron. The drugmaker’s shares were up 12.3 percent after its experimental treatment for eczema was found to be highly effective in two large studies. Marriott was down 5.9 percent after China’s Anbang Insurance abandoned its $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels. Starwood was down 5 percent.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury debt prices fell on Friday with short-dated yields rising from one-month lows as stronger-than-expected labor and factory data in March supported the view the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates later this year. The U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 4/32 in price for a yield of 1.800 percent, up two basis points from Thursday. The 10-year yield touched a one-month low of 1.762 percent earlier Friday. The 30-year bond fell 4/32 in price, yielding 2.627 percent, up one basis point on the day. The 30-year yield hit 2.584 percent earlier, which was its lowest since Feb. 29.