US, European shares advance as euro dives to lowest since 2017

FILE PHOTO – A stock broker works at Frankfurt’s stock exchange as markets react to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 27, 2020. REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach

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WASHINGTON / LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) – Key US equity indices ended higher after choppy trading on Wednesday on a boost from strong earnings from Microsoft and Visa, as commodity stocks lifted European shares to their first gain in four sessions.

The euro dropped to its weakest since 2017 after Russia halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland, and investors fretted more about the region’s economy.

The dollar continued its surge, on course for its biggest monthly gain since January 2015 as expectations mounted that the US Federal Reserve will hike interest rates aggressively in coming months and the American economy will be stronger than the euro zone.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 0.19% to end at 33,301.93 points, while the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 0.21% to 4,183.92.

The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 0.01% to 12,488.93.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) jumped 4.8%% and Visa Inc (VN) surged 6.5 %% on strong earnings, helping boost the S&P 500.

Some of Wall Street’s biggest names have reported results this week, with investors seeking a counterweight to the deluge of negative news that has pounded stocks. read more

Google-parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) fell 3.6% as slowing YouTube ad sales pushed quarterly revenue below expectations. Boeing Co (BA.N) dropped 7.5% after it disclosed $ 1.5 billion in abnormal costs from halting 777X production. read more

The pan-European STOXX 600 (.STOXX) rose 0.7% after having hit six-week lows at the open, with miners (.SXPP) and oil stocks (.SXEP) both gaining.

German shares (.GDAXI), which underperformed through the session, rallied at the close.

European corporate earnings were mixed. Credit Suisse reported another quarterly loss and Deutsche Bank warned the Russia-Ukraine conflict could hurt annual earnings. read more

Russia cut the flow of natural gas to Bulgaria and Poland for rejecting its demand to pay in rubles, taking direct aim at European economies. This led investors to sell euros and snap up US dollars. read more

MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets (.MIWD00000PUS) retreated 0.17%. Emerging markets stocks (.MSCIEF) fell 0.54%.

US Treasury yields rose, as investors awaited greater clarity on the “restrictive” policy the Fed plans to pursue next week to combat inflation by curbing economic growth.

The euro dropped as low as $ 1,0512, its weakest against the dollar since May 2017. Analysts cited the war in Ukraine and growing concerns that the bloc’s economy will fall into recession this year.

“The euro’s blatant inability to rally on hawkish comments by European Central Bank members means lingering vulnerability to an external environment negatively affected by an ever-concerning situation in Ukraine and generalized USD strength,” ING FX strategists wrote in a note to clients.

The dollar index measuring the greenback against a basket of rivals, hit a five-year high.

“The US dollar benefits from the prospect of an ongoing flight to safety liquidity bid,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC.

Euro vs US dollar

CHINESE REBOUND

There was more selling in Asia, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) down 0.82% after hitting its lowest since mid-March. Tokyo’s Nikkei (.N225) fell 1.17%.

Australian shares (.AXJO) lost 0.78% as inflation hit a 20-year high, bringing interest rate rises closer. read more

Battered Chinese stocks (.CSI300) bucked the trend, gaining almost 3% as data showed faster profit growth at industrial firms in March than a year earlier. read more

In the previous session, China stocks fell to their lowest in two years on fears that persistent COVID lockdowns would hurt economic activity and disrupt global supply chains. read more

Oil prices edged higher on ongoing global supply concerns, with Brent crude futures finishing up 33 cents to $ 105.32 a barrel and US crude settling up 32 cents at $ 102.02 a barrel.

Spot gold prices hit a more than two-month low and were last down 1.05% at 4:34 pm EST (2034 GMT), under pressure from the dollar’s rally. US gold futures GCv1 settled down 0.8% at $ 1,888.70 per ounce.

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Additional reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor and Joice Alves; Editing by John Stonestreet, Mark Heinrich, David Gregorio, Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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