U.S. stock index futures shaved some losses Thursday after a better-than-expected jobless claims report and a batch of M&A announcements, but a disappointing reading on the European economy put a damper on gains.
Asian stock markets climbed higher on Thursday led by Australian shares, which hit a four-year high on strong corporate earnings. Risk sentiment was also boosted by firm gains in Japan and Hong Kong ahead of a weekend meeting of G20 central bank officials.
Central banks scooped up more gold in 2012 than they have annually in nearly half a century as they sought to diversify reserves, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday.
Some of the world's most sophisticated credit investors have been ramping up their bets against junk bonds even as retail investors have been pouring money into the asset class. These investors began paring their junk-bond holdings during late 2012. The Financial Times reports.
Stocks could continue their sideways drift, as investors watch a few big earnings, jobless claims and an anticipated merger agreement for American Airlines.
Prices for U.S. Treasurys fell on Wednesday after a tepid sale of 10-year debt, with yields within recent ranges as they continue to test key technical levels.
The yen traded flat against the dollar Wednesday, a day after sharply rising, as investors grew cautious ahead of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers later this week.
Gold fell below $1,650 an ounce after data showed disappointingly small growth in U.S. retail sales in January, while some investors stayed at the sidelines ahead of a G20 meeting later this week, which is expected to set the tone for the gold trade.
Oil fell to session lows as investors took heart from discussions between Iran and international regulators over the country's disputed nuclear program.
European shares extended gains to close higher on Wednesday, bolstered by a strong open on Wall Street.
U.S. stock index futures held their gains Wednesday following a pair of economic reports, a day after the Dow and S&P 500 closed at multi-year highs.
Asian shares outside of Japan closed in the green on Wednesday, led by Australian banks and South Korean exporters while the Nikkei lost ground on a firmer yen amid conflicting interpretations of G7 comments about the currency's recent weakness.
The world's major economies may be trying to ease concerns about a currency war, but it appears that they are sowing confusion in the foreign exchange markets instead.
Stocks have been struggling to break out to new highs, and it may be tech that helps decide which way the market goes.
The yen rebounded Tuesday, rising from a nearly three-year low against the dollar hit during the previous session, after a G7 official said a statement was meant to express "concern about excess moves" in the Japanese currency.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said on CNBC that "economic underpinnings" are looking good and that "we could be on the threshold of a bull market."
Prices for U.S. Treasurys fell on Tuesday as investors looked ahead to retail sales data to shed light on consumer habits on Wednesday after a lackluster debt sale, the first for a total of $72 billion in supply this week.
Oil prices rose after OPEC raised the outlook for the amount of crude it will need to pump this year to keep supply and demand in balance.
Gold futures settled nearly unchanged at $1,649 per ounce, as the dollar fell following a statement from the Group of Seven industrialized countries reaffirming commitment to market-determined exchange rates.
World stock markets have rallied to levels not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in January, but the bull market has screeched to a halt and now one of the world's largest investment banks has downgraded its outlook for global equities.
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