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U.S. futures, Europe stocks gain before jobs report

UPDATED: Thu., July 4, 2019

By Laura Curtis Bloomberg

U.S. stock futures and European shares edged higher Thursday in a lackluster session marked by thin trading volumes thanks to the American holiday. Gold slipped but stayed above $1,400 and WTI futures fell.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index finished modestly higher, with real estate firms and banks lifting the gauge. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index also nudged up after Asia’s benchmark finished higher overall, thanks to gains in Japan and South Korea. Trading volumes were well below average across the board, with U.S. markets shut for the July 4 holiday and investors counting down to Friday’s American jobs report.

Core European bonds climbed, with German 10-year yields sliding below the European Central Bank’s deposit rate for the first time. Treasuries aren’t trading thanks to Independence Day. The dollar was slightly lower in the wake of accusations from President Donald Trump that the European Union and China engage in currency manipulation, while the euro edged higher.

Thursday’s holiday in the U.S. is giving many investors a breather after a hectic few weeks in which bonds surged and stocks hit records as they tracked every twist in the trade war, tried to second-guess central bankers and analyzed every data point. Next up, a U.S. jobs report that will be closely monitored for clues on the Federal Reserve’s next move.

“Friday’s data is important to the extent that it will calibrate expectations for what the Fed could deliver later this month,” said Ned Rumpeltin, European head of FX strategy at Toronto-Dominion Bank in London. “It is more about confirming the market’s current bias rather than setting fresh expectations.”

On the currency-war front, Trump, in a Twitter post Wednesday, said China and Europe are playing a “big currency manipulation game” and “pumping money into their system” to compete with the U.S. He said America should match their efforts “or continue being dummies” who watch other countries manipulate currencies.

Here are some key events coming up:

    U.S. equity markets close Thursday for the Independence Day holiday.

    The U.S. jobs report is due Friday and is projected to show non-farm payrolls rose by 160,000 in June, rebounding from 75,000 the month prior.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

    Futures on the S&P 500 Index increased 0.1 percent as of 11:47 a.m. New York time.

    The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.1 percent, reaching the highest in almost 13 months.

    The UK’s FTSE 100 Index decreased 0.1 percent, the first retreat in a week.

    The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 percent to the highest in two months.

    The MSCI Emerging Market Index jumped 0.5 percent.

Currencies

    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent.

    The euro increased less than 0.05 percent to $1.1281.

    The British pound gained less than 0.05 percent to $1.258.

    The Japanese yen climbed less than 0.05 percent to 107.80 per dollar.

Bonds

    Britain’s 10-year yield dipped two basis points to 0.674 percent, the lowest in almost three years.

    Germany’s 10-year yield decreased two basis points to -0.40 percent.

Commodities

    Gold dipped 0.2 percent to $1,416.30 an ounce.

    West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 0.6 percent to $57.00 a barrel.

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