Friday 02.40 BST


Asian stock markets rallied on Friday, taking their lead from Wall Street where news that President Donald Trump ordered a probe into steel imports lifted the sector.

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Investor attention is turning to the Europe ahead of Sunday’s first round of voting in France’s presidential election. Nerves were also building in the wake of a shooting in central Paris on Thursday in an apparent Islamist terror attack that threatens to disrupt the final days of the nation’s presidential campaign.

The euro trimmed early declines to trade flat at $1.0718 on Friday, having gained 0.1 per cent on Thursday. The single currency has advanced in four of the past five sessions and is hovering close to its highest in a month.

The yield on the benchmark French government 10-year bond shed 2.7 basis points on Thursday to 0.921 per cent, while the equivalent-duration yield for German bonds climbed 4.1bps to 0.242 per cent.


Japan’s Topix was up 0.9 per cent. Shares in Fujifilm were down 3.9 per cent and among the biggest decliners in Tokyo after the company said it delayed the release of its fourth-quarter earnings after finding accounting irregularities at a sales subsidiary.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6 per cent. DUET Group gained 9.5 per cent after the Australian government approved the takeover of the energy network operator by a consortium led by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings.

In Hong Kong, CK Infrastructure shares were down 0.5 per cent, while the benchmark Hang Seng rose by the same amount. China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.2 per cent.

The S&P 500 added 0.9 per cent on Thursday.


The yen was 0.1 per cent firmer at ¥109.25 per dollar, rising in the wake of a survey that showed a solid gain in domestic manufacturing activity in April.

The British pound was down 0.1 per cent at $1.2803. This week, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election saw sterling jump 2.2 per cent to its highest since October.

The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers, was fractionally higher at 99.803.


Oil prices continued to firm after a mid-week drop that was triggered by data showing an unexpected rise in gasoline inventories. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.1 per cent at $53.06 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was 0.1 per cent higher at $50.76.

Gold was down 0.1 per cent at $1,280.85 an ounce.

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