European stock markets were mostly lower Thursday amid a mixed - TopicsExpress


European stock markets were mostly lower Thursday amid a mixed session in Asia and a lower close on Wall Street. - US stock futures are currently little changed in anticipation of weekly jobless claims and US GDP for Q1 later in the session. In Europe, trading is subdued as several European markets are closed for Ascension Day. Major benchmarks are still at six year highs but we are now starting to see a pull-back which has stopped a five-day winning streak. There’s been little data out to inject life into European markets other than Spain’s Q1 GDP (final estimate) which came in-line at 0.4% on the quarter – no major surprises there with the euro still reacting to expectations that the European Central Bank are preparing to launch a stimulus package at next week’s meeting. Meanwhile, core government bonds are low, suggesting there’s some appetite left for equities Thursday. Gold is down another $5 to $1,253 an ounce on course for its lowest close since February while industrial metals are broadly weak with copper off. Oil on the other hand is a touch weaker. Traders are showing hesitation ahead of major economic readings out of the US later. US GDP is likely to have contracted 0.5% in the first quarter, following a preliminary estimate of 0.1% annualised growth, according to economists. That’s after GDP rose at a 2.6 percent annualised pace in the previous period. The contraction, however, is likely to be taken in stride, with markets expecting the bad weather conditions in the US during the period to have eaten away at economic growth. Together with the GDP figures, separate readings of weekly jobless claims and pending home sales will be analysed carefully by the market ahead of next month’s policy meeting by the Federal Reserve. Overnight in Asian markets, stocks traded mostly flat in another session lacking volatility. Concern over the impact of April’s sales tax hike in Japan after retail sales data came in weaker-than-expected weighed on Japanese stocks. However, the Nikkei rebounded from a negative open and the yen held steady around overnight levels. Traders will be keeping an eye out on a number of key economic data points due out of Japan Friday, including inflation, production, and employment. Meanwhile, growing concern over the military coup in Thailand has hit the country’s currency but the stock market has climbed higher on hopes of at least some political stability – the situation remains liquid, so trader sentiment around it is highly volatile.
Posted on: Thu, 29 May 2014 10:17:54 +0000

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