Sun, Apr 29, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Amazon lifts stocks as Treasuries slide

SKEPTICISM:The margin between shorter and longer-dated US Treasury yields shrank on concerns about the global economy, despite the US faring better than other nations

Reuters, NEW YORK

A gauge of world stocks climbed on Friday, lifted by gains in Amazon.com Inc, as US Treasury yields dipped for a second straight day on global growth skepticism, but investors shrugged off news of progress on a peace deal on the Korean Peninsula.

US stocks were little changed, after gains in the quarterly earnings of Amazon, up 3.6 percent, and Microsoft Corp, up 1.66 percent, were offset by a 0.96 percent drop in the energy sector.

Energy was pulled lower by a 3.8 percent drop in Exxon Mobil Corp after the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer posted lower-than-expected quarterly results.

The US economy slowed in the first quarter of this year as consumer spending grew at its weakest pace in nearly five years.

However, a surge in wages amid a tightening labor market and lower tax rates suggested the setback is temporary.

“The GDP [growth] came in much stronger [than expected], but the employment cost index was also stronger and that is what caused some of the negative reaction, because that just brings up the whole wage pressure and inflationary argument again, and what the [US Federal Reserve] is going to do,” O’Neil Securities Inc New York Stock Exchange floor division director Ken Polcari said in New York.

The Fed is scheduled to hold a two-day meeting next week, with an announcement on US monetary policy expected on Wednesday.

Traders currently see only a 6.9 percent chance of a 0.25 percentage point interest rate hike, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday fell 11.15 points, or 0.05 percent, to 24,311.19, a drop of 0.6 percent from 24,462.94 a week earlier.

The S&P 500 on Friday gained 2.97 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,669.91, but was down 0.01 percent from a close of 2,670.14 on April 20.

The NASDAQ Composite on Friday added 1.12 points, or 0.02 percent, to 7,119.80, falling 0.4 percent from 7,146.13 a week earlier.

European shares closed Friday’s session with a slight advance, lifted by results from Spanish banks and a bounce in technology shares to secure their fifth straight weekly climb.

The pan-European STOXX 600 on Friday gained 0.89 points, or 0.23 percent, to 384.64, an increase of 0.7 percent from a week earlier.

Yields on benchmark 10-year US Treasury debt fell for a second straight day after hitting a four-year high this week.

Ten-year notes last rose 8/32 in price to yield 2.9605 percent, from 2.99 percent late on Thursday.

However, the margin between shorter-dated US Treasury yields and longer-dated ones shrank on investors’ skepticism about the global economy, even as the US fared better than other nations in the first quarter.

The US dollar held steady, on track for its strongest week since November 2016. The solid week has lifted the currency to its highest since Jan. 11.

The dollar index fell 0.03 percent, with the euro up 0.2 percent to US$1.2125.

Sterling slumped to its lowest since March 1 against the dollar.

Data showed Britain’s economy slowed much more sharply than expected in the first quarter, slashing market expectations of a Bank of England rate hike next month.

The British pound was last trading at US$1.3776, down 0.99 percent on the day.

The South Korean won strengthened after the leaders of North and South Korea pledged to work for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.

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