Dollar strengthens despite weaker than expected data
US stock market extended gains on Friday as the US and China moved closer to a trade deal ahead of the March 2 deadline when tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods should increase to $25% from 10%. S&P 500 advanced 0.7% to 2803.69, closing 0.4% higher for the week. Dow Jones industrial rose 0.4% to 26026.32. The Nasdaq gained 0.8% to 7595.35. The dollar strengthening accelerated despite a weaker than expected reading of Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for February. The live dollar index data show the ICE US Dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, rose 0.3% to 96.47 but is lower currently. Futures on US stock indexes point to higher openings today.
DAX 30 leads European indices gains
European stocks finished higher on Friday. Both the EUR/USD and GBP/USD continued sliding with the Pound higher against the dollar while euro still lower currently. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.4%. The DAX 30 rose 0.8% to 11601.68 as German labor data came in stronger than expected. France’s CAC 40 added 0.5% and UK’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5% to 7106.73 with reports pro-Brexit politicians will back Theresa May’s Brexit deal in return for her quick departure as Prime Minister.
Shanghai Composite leads Asian indices gains
Asian stock indices are mostly higher today after reports US could lift most or all of its tariffs on Chinese goods after tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods set to increase to $25% from 10% on March 2 were delayed amid reports a summit between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sign a final trade deal could happen later this month. Nikkei rose 1% to 21822.04 with yen little changed against the dollar. Chinese markets are higher ahead of China’s National People’s Congress opening in Beijing on Tuesday where Premier Li Keqiang will announce an economic growth target for this year. The Shanghai Composite Index is up 1.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is 0.4% higher. Australia’s All Ordinaries Index rose 0.4% despite the Australian dollar turning higher against the greenback ahead of Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate decision Tuesday.
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Brent futures prices are higher today supported by OPEC cuts. Prices ended lower on Friday despite Baker Hughes report that the number of active US rigs drilling for oil fell by 10 to 843 last week: Brent for April settlement fell 1.9% to close at $65.07 a barrel Friday, falling 3.2% for the week.
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