US equity futures and European stocks edged up on Wednesday as investors digested the latest earnings from corporate heavyweights. The dollar stayed higher as delayed data showed America’s trade deficit narrowed, while Treasury yields ticked lower.
Contracts on the Nasdaq index advanced and those on the Dow Jones and S&P 500 gauges eked out small gains after General Motors Co. reported profit that beat estimates. The Stoxx Europe 600 also edged higher, heading for a seventh day rising as technology stocks rallied on some upbeat company reports. Car makers were among the laggards after Daimler AG’s cautious tone reignited concern about global trade. Bonds across the region were range bound, though Italian notes slipped as the country sold new debt.
Asia saw another muted session as the Lunar New Year holiday continued. Australia’s dollar tumbled after the central bank chief signaled a shift to a neutral stance on policy. Iron ore rallied towards $90 a metric ton after Brazil’s Vale SA declared force majeure on some contracts, raising the prospect of a deficit of the commodity this year.
Global equities are close to levels not seen since November, in part spurred by the Federal Reserve’s tilt toward a neutral policy stance. Further clues on what 2019 holds may come Wednesday from Chairman Jerome Powell’s first public comments following the January meeting and interest-rate decision.
There are also looming meetings in Beijing next week between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and their Chinese counterparts. And in his State of the Union speech, Trump said he will meet with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, West Texas oil held below $54 a barrel after an industry report pointed to a rise in US crude inventories.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.1% as of 8:39 a.m. New York time, hitting the highest in almost three months with its seventh consecutive advance.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index gained less than 0.05 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index fell 0.1 percent, the first retreat in more than a week.
While UK’s FTSE 100 Index decreased 0.1 percent, the first retreat in more than a week, the MSCI Emerging Market Index sank 0.2 percent.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.2 percent, reaching the highest in almost two weeks on its fifth straight advance. The euro decreased 0.1 percent to $1.139, the weakest in almost two weeks. The British pound gained 0.1 percent to $1.2955, the first advance in a week. The Japanese yen advanced 0.1 percent to 109.84 per dollar.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped two basis points to 2.68 percent. While Germany’s 10-year yield declined less than one basis point to 0.17 percent, Britain’s 10-year yield
decreased one basis point to 1.224 percent.
Japan’s 10-year yield fell less than one basis point to -0.013 percent, the lowest in more than a month.