Morning Report

EQUITY

Asian shares were on the defensive on Friday as investors kept a wary eye on economic tensions between Washington and Beijing while the euro was steady after the European Central Bank halted new bond purchases as expected.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 ticked down 0.02 percent to 2,650, not far from its 6-1/2-month closing low of 2,633 touched on Nov 23, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.39 percent.

CURRENCY

The euro changed hands at $1.1362, stuck in its well-worn $1.13-$1.14 range over the past few days.

The ECB ended its 2.6 trillion euro crisis-fighting bond purchase scheme but pledged to continue reinvesting maturing bonds – thereby avoiding shrinking its balance sheet – for an extended period of time.

The plan lifted Portuguese and Irish government bond prices sharply on Thursday.

The Sterling Pound traded at $1.2655, off Wednesday’s low of $1.2477, but remains on track to post its fourth consecutive week of losses, with a fall of 0.6 percent so far this week.

The dollar stood at 113.60 yen, flat on the day but having risen from this week’s low of 112.245 set on Monday.

OIL

Oil prices held firm after data showed on Thursday inventory declines in the United States and as investors began to expect that the global oil market could have a deficit sooner than they had previously thought.

Both Brent crude and U.S. light crude gained more than 2.5 percent on Thursday.

U.S. crude last traded at $52.77 per barrel, up 19 cents or 0.35 percent

Source : Reuters

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