Friday, 18 May 2018

US stocks slip as dollar gains; Brent hits $80-mark after 3 years

US stocks edged lower in early trading and the 10-year Treasury yield pushed above 3.1% as global markets continue to grapple with the outlook for the world’s largest economy. Brent crude punched through the $80 per barrel-mark.

The S&P 500 index fell as disappointing results from Cisco Systems weighed on technology shares. The dollar added to its highest levels of the year after data on manufacturing and employment showed economic strength. West Texas oil climbed above $72 a barrel and Brent hit its highest in four years.

In Europe, the common currency euro was slightly weaker and Italian bonds dropped as party leaders sealed an agreement to form a populist government. The pound jumped but then pared gains amid conflicting reports over Britain’s future in the EU customs union. The Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced. Earlier in Asia, equities rose in Japan and fell in Australia and Korea.

Recent evidence that the world’s largest economy will continue to pick up steam is currently just a consolation prize for investors, who are having to adjust to the highest US bond yields in years as well as second-guess issues stretching from peace on the Korean peninsula to Italian populists forming a government. Looming over it all are trade talks between the US and China, the outcome of which could cement the global growth story -- or derail it.

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