Stock markets rise but sterling hit by vote uncertainty

Stocks gained across Asia and Europe and Wall Street opened higher on data showing a surge in jobs creation.

Stock markets rise but sterling hit by vote uncertainty

World Bulletin / News Desk

Stock markets mostly rose on Thursday, while the pound extended losses on growing uncertainty about the outcome of next week's British election.

The pound stumbled after a fresh opinion poll pointed to a hung parliament at next Thursday's British general election.

Sterling had risen in recent weeks on the prospect that Prime Minister Theresa May would win a landslide, giving her a stronger hand in Brexit talks. But the currency has fallen with the government's poll numbers on fears Britain could end up with a bad exit deal.

"If the pound is a barometer of the Prime Minister Theresa May's fortunes (then) it's safe to say that the initial glow that currency markets felt in the wake of the April election announcement is starting to wear off," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Tokyo ended 1.1 percent higher as dealers welcomed a survey showing Japanese firms boosted their capital spending in the first quarter, a sign they are growing more confident and suggesting the economy is picking up.

The figures came a day after separate numbers showed factory output in April climbed at its fastest pace in six years.

"There are good stories and bad stories out there for investors, but the market is largely welcoming the upbeat business investment data," Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told AFP.

However, Shanghai shed 0.5 percent following the release of the private Caixin purchasing managers index of manufacturing, which showed activity contracted in May for the first time in 11 months. The result disappointed dealers, a day after an official reading pointed to a continued increase, beating forecasts.

"China's manufacturing sector has come under greater pressure in May and the economy is clearly on a downward trajectory," Caixin analyst Zhengsheng Zhong said in a joint statement with data compiler IHS Markit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 percent following release of data showing a strong pickup in US private-sector hiring in May.

Private payrolls firm ADP reported that US companies added 253,000 jobs last month, much above the 180,000 forecast by analysts. The report raised expectations for Friday's Department of Labor May employment report.

It followed Wednesday's "beige book" report by the Federal Reserve that while sentiment among US firms was broadly upbeat, there were worries in some regions about trade and other government policies.

However, it did not provide any suggestion that the central bank would hold off lifting interest rates as expected later this month, providing support to the dollar. Eyes are on the release Friday of US jobs data, which will provide investors a better handle on what the Fed will likely do.

The yuan hit its highest levels in seven months on Thursday, leading to talk Beijing was propping up the beleaguered unit following last week's credit rating downgrade by Moody's.

Since this time the yuan has strengthened sharply and was trading Thursday at around 6.7800 per US dollar, a level not seen since early November. Its offshore rate, which is less controlled by Beijing, was 6.7330, its strongest since mid-October.

China said last week it was considering changing its mechanism for guiding the yuan's value, which was interpreted as a sign Beijing would tighten its grip despite pledges to allow market forces to play a larger role.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,550.96 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 12,652.28

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,315.89

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,563.40

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 21,027.56

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 19,860.03 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 25,809.22 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,102.62 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1218 from $1.1242 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.39 yen from 110.75 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2877 from $1.2892

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP three cents at $48.35 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN eight cents at $50.68


Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Haziran 2017, 17:12