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Stocks Drift, Bonds Mixed; Euro and Gold Advance: Markets Wrap

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European and Asian stocks drifted and bonds were mixed as investors pondered the latest drama in Washington while they wait for new clues on the U.S. economy. The euro hit a fresh two-and-a-half year high against the dollar.

The benchmark European share gauge edged lower as Swiss Re AG’s profit drop weighed on insurers. Equity measures fell in Japan and Australia earlier, while South Korea’s Kospi index bounced after Thursday’s selloff. The dollar index was headed for a fourth straight weekly decline after Special Counsel Robert Mueller was said to be using a federal grand jury to help collect information as he probes Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Treasuries steadied after yesterday’s jump.

While the news of the Russia probe once again meant geopolitics took center stage for markets, the U.S. employment report may later steal the show. Investors are trying to figure out how strong the world’s largest economy really is and what the Federal Reserve’s next policy move will be.

Watch our discussion on special counsel Robert Mueller impaneling a new grand jury.

Source: Bloomberg

The jobs report for July may show the economy is on a steady trajectory and the labor market is staying tight, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Consensus expects an increase of 180,000 in non-farm payrolls, after a gain of 222,000 in June, and a decline in unemployment to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent. The data will also signal if income gains are enough to keep consumer spending ticking.

Terminal users can read more in our Markets Live blog.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Asia

  • Japan’s Topix index slid 0.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.5 percent after sliding 1.7 percent on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was little changed, while the Shanghai Composite Index swung between gains and losses.
  • The Japanese yen declined less than 0.05 percent to 110.07 per dollar.

Stocks

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dipped 0.1 percent as of 8:43 a.m. in London.
  • The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index decreased 0.1 percent. 
  • Germany’s DAX Index sank 0.1 percent. 
  • The MSCI All-Country World Index advanced less than 0.05 percent. 
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index gained less than 0.05 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent. 
  • The euro climbed 0.1 percent to $1.1883, the strongest in more than two years on a closing basis. 
  • The British pound increased 0.2 percent to $1.316.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced less than one basis point to 2.22 percent. 
  • Germany’s 10-year yield advanced less than one basis point to 0.46 percent. 
  • Britain’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to 1.157 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.2 percent to $48.94 a barrel. 
  • Gold gained 0.1 percent to $1,269.68 an ounce, the strongest in almost eight weeks. 
  • Copper climbed 0.4 percent to $2.89 a pound.

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