- Stocks Rise, Currencies Drift Before Bankers Speak
European stocks advanced as the euro and dollar traded sideways before Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi speak in Jackson Hole. Commodities showed more conviction, with most raw materials climbing.
Stocks across Europe fluctuated before gradually following Asian equities higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rising as mining-share gains outweighed retailer declines. The Bloomberg Commodity Index was in the green for a third day. Crude traded near $48 a barrel as Hurricane Harvey headed for Texas. While flat against the greenback, the euro fell against most other major peers as data showed German corporate confidence weakened.
In a week when traders have had little to go on and the Northern Hemisphere summer has suppressed volumes, equity markets have struggled for traction as investors await the forum in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Though European Central Bank President Draghi isn’t expected to offer a fresh policy message, his speech and that of Federal Reserve Chair Yellen will be parsed for clues on the timing of reductions in stimulus.
Meanwhile, two Fed officials offered opposing views Thursday on the inflation debate. Kansas City’s Esther George said another rate hike is feasible this year if U.S. data holds up. Dallas’s Robert Kaplan called for patience in waiting for prices to go higher.
“Will financial-stability concerns prompt the Fed to hike, even when inflation is so low? This is what the market wants to know,” John Cairns, a strategist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, wrote in a client note. “With little else to focus on, the market has morphed the symposium into a colossus. Risks are two way: Yellen could take the hike off the table, or reaffirm it.”
Beyond the gathering of central bankers, market risks may be building in Washington. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to fuel the debate on legislation to keep the U.S. government open next month. Trump blasted Republican leaders for ignoring his advice on raising the debt ceiling and creating a “mess.” Countering, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the borrowing limit will be raised. Rates on short-term Treasury bills spiked amid concern Congress and the White House may not act in time.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.3 percent as of 9:18 a.m. in London.
- The MSCI World Index of developed countries climbed 0.1 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index advanced less than 0.05 percent.
- The euro dipped 0.1 percent to $1.1786.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced less than 0.05 percent.
- The British pound climbed 0.1 percent to $1.2811.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell less than one basis point to 2.19 percent.
- Britain’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to 1.065 percent.
- Germany’s 10-year yield increased two basis points to 0.39 percent, the first advance in more than a week.
- West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.7 percent to $47.78 a barrel.
- Gold advanced 0.1 percent to $1,287.25 an ounce.
- Copper climbed 0.4 percent to $6,716.00 per metric ton, the highest in almost three years.