05062016Fri
Last update: Fri, 06 May 2016 06am

Stocks and Bonds: World

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Wall Street trimmed early gains but remained higher in afternoon trading on Thursday as a rise in oil prices boosted energy shares, and investors awaited US jobs data on Friday. Oil prices jumped about 3 percent as a huge wildfire in Canada's oil sands region and escalating tensions in Libya stoked concerns among investors of a near-term shortage in supply. Investors are also keeping a keen eye on the jobs data for April as any signs of a strengthening labour market could influence the pace of future rate hikes.

US stocks declined for a second day on Wednesday, weighed down by tepid data on private sector US jobs and a retreat in biotech shares. Weaker-than-expected results from Priceline added to the bearish tone. The Nasdaq Biotech Index dropped 2.9 percent, its seventh session of losses out of the last eight. The ADP private sector employment report showed hiring in April fell to its lowest in three years. The report acts as a precursor to the more comprehensive government nonfarm payrolls data due on Friday.
Britain's top share index steadied near a one-month low on Thursday, as gains in companies like BT and RSA offset declines by companies such as Centrica and Inmarsat after they gave discouraging updates. Centrica ended 9.8 percent lower, its biggest one-day percentage drop since late 2008 and wiping off more than 1 billion pounds ($1.45 billion) from its market capitalisation, after saying it would sell shares to pay off debt.
European stock markets edged higher on Thursday, buoyed by encouraging earnings updates including from telecoms group BT and oil company Repsol. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.3 percent higher after falling 1.2 percent in the previous session to its lowest level in almost a month. The FTSEurofirst has lost around 10 percent so far in 2016, hit - like other global stock markets - by worries about a slowdown in China, the world's second-biggest economy, and uncertainty over future US interest rate rises.
Indian shares rose on Thursday with bluechips such as Tata Motors rebounding after a three-session losing streak was seen as overdone, though broader gains were capped by persistent worries about the economy and mixed earnings results. The broader NSE index rose 0.38 percent to 7,735.50, after declining 1.8 percent in the previous three sessions.
Sri Lankan shares rose slightly on Thursday, hovering near their highest level in about four months hit in the previous session, as foreign investors turned net buyers. However, the gains were capped as investors were worried that the island government's move to increase the value added tax (VAT) and impose new taxes effective from Monday would hit the bottom lines of companies.
China stocks rose slightly on Thursday, but trading volume remained near four-month lows amid fresh signs that the country's nascent economic recovery is resting on weak foundations. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.1 percent, to 3,213.92, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent, to 2,997.84 points. China's robust market rebound since early March appears to be losing momentum as trading volumes have shrunk and the SSEC fails to stand decisively above the 3,000 mark - seen by many as a key psychological level.