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Currency Markets the euro held steady below a three-week high against the dollar on Friday, as investors awaited this weekend's first round of voting in France's presidential election. The euro was flat at $1.0718 after having risen to as high as $1.0778 on Thursday, its strongest since late March. The dollar eased 0.1 percent to 109.23 yen, giving up some gains after rising 0.4 percent on Thursday helped by comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Sterling eased 0.1 percent to $1.2798 but was up nearly 2.2 percent for the week, having gained a lift after British Prime Minister Theresa May surprised markets on Tuesday by calling for an early general election on June 8.
Commodities Markets oil traded steady on Friday, though it was set for its biggest weekly decline in about a month over doubts that an OPEC-led production cut will restore balance to a market that has been dogged by oversupply for more than two years. Brent crude futures were at $52.99 per barrel, flat from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were also almost unchanged, at $50.74 a barrel. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,279.80 per ounce and spot silver declined 0.3 percent to $17.94, extending losses into the fifth session. Platinum fell 0.5 percent to $972.10, while palladium fell 0.3 percent to $797.50, after rising over 3 percent in the previous session.
US Equity Markets stocks rallied on Thursday, with the Nasdaq closing at a record, as a round of solid earnings led by American Express pushed equities higher. The Dow rose 0.85 percent, to 20,578.71, the S&P 500 gained 0.76 percent, to 2,355.84 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.92 percent, to 5,916.78. Philip Morris fell 3.5 percent after the tobacco maker's first-quarter profit forecast fell below estimates. American Express closed up 5.9 percent after reporting a smaller-than-expected decrease in quarterly profit late Wednesday. CSX Corp was up 5.6 percent after the railroad reported a better-than-expected quarterly net profit driven by rising freight volumes and said it plans to cut costs and boost profitability moving forward.
Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday as investors waited on the results from the French presidential election this weekend and as rising risk appetite boosted stocks, after yields fell earlier and broke below key technical resistance. The 10-year note fell 12/32 in price to yield 2.25 percent. The yield briefly fell as low as 2.165 percent on Tuesday, the lowest level since Nov. 10, and it has tumbled from 2.63 percent on March 14.
Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks rose to 1-1/2 week highs on Friday as global investors bet that U.S. tax reforms are getting back on track, but Fujifilm Holdings tumbled after it delayed its earnings release due to an accounting probe. The Nikkei 225 index gained 0.9 percent to 18,597.25 points by mid-morning, its highest level since April 12. The broader Topix gained 0.9 percent to 1,486.02 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.9 percent to 13,301.22. Chinese stocks added 0.35 percent, and Hong Kong stocks increased 0.4 percent. The Kospi rose 0.81 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX200 made gains of 0.58 percent.