Stock Volatility Eases Despite Lingering Trade Worries

Asian stocks slip

Crude prices decline

U.S. Treasury yields tick lower

European stocks climbed Wednesday following a downbeat session in Asia, as worries over U.S.-China trade tensions lingered in markets.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.7% after the opening bell, with gains led by the technology and chemicals sectors.

ABN AMRO Bank


ABN -3.38%

and

UniCredit

were both down by around 3.2%, following the release of second-quarter earning reports. ABN AMRO Bank warned of pressure on its margins from low interest rates, and UniCredit cut its revenue guidance for the year.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index and Japan’s Nikkei both declined around 0.3% and Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.4%.

The moves came a day after U.S. stocks regained some ground from recent heavy losses, as China backed away from a further escalation in the trade row and the yuan stabilized.

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange.


Photo:

afp contributor#afp/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

China’s central bank on Wednesday set its official yuan rate at the weakest since 2008, but still kept it below the symbolic 7-yuan-a-dollar level, at 6.9996. The offshore yuan Wednesday was down 0.3% against the U.S. dollar at 7.0744.

Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar fell by 1.6% against the U.S. dollar after its central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates beyond economists’ forecasts. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand lowered its official cash rate by 50 basis points and signaled it could soon adopt unorthodox policy amid a deteriorating global-growth outlook.

The move hit the Australian dollar, where bets on lower interest rates in September jumped higher. It also sparked talk of a “race to the bottom” in interest rates, said Neil Wilson, analyst at Markets.com.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of its peers, was up 0.1%.

The yield on 10-year Treasurys fell to 1.678% on Wednesday, from 1.740% on Tuesday, when it hit its second-lowest level in 2019. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

In commodities, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was down by 0.2% to $58.84 a barrel, as investors anticipated weaker demand during a period of global economic uncertainty. Gold gained 1%.

Write to Lauren Almeida at lauren.almeida@wsj.com

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