The euro strengthened slightly early Thursday to trade at 1.1837 after hitting a new five-month low of 1.1761 the previous day. It seems that the single currency has a new headache to deal with; this time, it’s Italy.
U.S. consumers are becoming more confident to spend. U.S. retail sales increased 0.3% in April, and March figures were revised up to 0.8% from 0.6%. When excluding food services, autos and building materials, the so-called retail-control group sales gained 0.4%.
Stocks in Asia were uninspired by the slight gains on Wall Street during Monday trading. Although the easing of U.S.- China trade tensions was supposed to be positive for risk assets, the rise in global yields is making stocks less attractive.
U.S. equities rallied sharply at the end of last week as did the dollar, despite the NFP disappointment. The headline number for the rise in jobs came short of analysts’ expectations, “164K vs. 193K forecast,” but the previous month’s figure was revised up by 32,000. Average hourly earnings also came in below expectations, growing by 2.6% YoY. The bright spot was the unemployment rate which dropped to an 18-year low at 3.9%.
When oil markets are headed towards rebalancing, any shocks due to supply shortage may lead to a huge spike in prices. Brent prices fell on Tuesday to a low of $73.47 per barrel, indicating that $75 may be a short-term top.
The final trading day of April kicked off with a positive mood in Asia after North Korea’s Kim Jong-un made history by crossing into South Korea. The scene of Kim Jong-un shaking hands with Moon Jae-in brought cheer to financial markets as the two leaders vowed to work towards denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, hopefully ending a seven-decade conflict.
Wall Street ended mixed on Monday as tech stocks continued to lead the major indices. The S&P 500 finished flat at 2,670, with the 1.07% gain in materials offset by the 0.43% decline in the tech sector.