Last update: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 06pm

Stocks and Bonds: World


Wall Street was little changed on Thursday afternoon as a drop in consumer stocks was offset by gains in technology companies as well as financials after two more Federal Reserve officials said interest rates can be raised. Their comments followed the hawkish tone set by key Fed policymakers in recent days and came ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech on Friday at Jackson Hole, which will be assessed to see if she takes an aggressive stance.

Wall Street retreated on Wednesday, pulled lower by weakness in the materials and healthcare sectors as investors continued to weigh the possibility of an interest rate hike in the coming months. Healthcare shares, off 1.6 percent, saw their biggest drop since June 24. They were dragged lower by a 5.4-percent drop in Mylan to $43.15 as political pressure mounted on the company in the wake of price increases for its EpiPen allergy treatment.
Tokyo shares closed lower on Thursday as falling oil prices hit energy firms, while traders await a key speech by the head of the Federal Reserve at the end of the week. Trading volume in Japan has been light in the last weeks of summer, with attention shifting to Janet Yellen's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium of global central bankers on Friday.
UK shares fell on Thursday, extending losses from the previous session as healthcare stocks dropped, though CRH rose after well-received results. The bluechip FTSE 100 index was down 0.3 percent at 6,816.90 points by the close. It outperformed European peers, benefiting from sterling weakness against the euro. Healthcare stocks were a major weight on the FTSE 100, with Hikma, Shire and Astrazeneca falling between 1.4 percent to 3.5 percent.
European equities fell on Thursday, dragged down by weaker miners and drugmakers, with investors cutting their exposure to riskier assets ahead of a key speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday. Although the Fed is seen maintaining rates at its September meeting, expectations have risen that Yellen might indicate a clearer timeframe for the next US rate hike after this week's strong housing data and hawkish comments by other Fed officials.
Indian shares reversed early gains and closed at their lowest in two weeks as investors booked profits a day before US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech that is expected to provide clues on outlook for US interest rates. Thursday's trading session was volatile on account of monthly derivative contracts expiry. Firming up as much as 0.38 percent earlier in the day, the broader NSE index slipped in the latter half to close down 0.67 percent at 8,592.20, recording its biggest loss since August 10.
Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Thursday in moderate trading volume as local buying boosted by positive sentiment was offset by foreign outflows and selling for month-end settlement. Sentiment has been positive after the authorities started to take some bold steps to counter a balance of payments and credit problem.