European markets, US futures rise ahead of BoE meeting

MANILA, Philippines – European markets and U.S. futures made early gains after a mixed performance in Asia following calming words from Britain’s new Treasury chief and ahead of a decision by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee on whether to stimulate the economy.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent to 6,714.49. Germany’s DAX jumped 1.3 per cent to 10,060.73. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.9 per cent at 4,373.63. U.S. futures indicate higher opening on Wall Street, with the Dow futures up 0.6 per cent at 2,159.25 and the S&P futures higher by 0.6 per cent to 18,400.00.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei closed nearly 1 per cent higher at 16,385.89 as the yen weakened against the dollar. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.1 per cent at 21,561.06. China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 0.2 per cent to 3,054.02. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was up 0.4 per cent at 5,411.60. South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.2 per cent at 2,008.77. In Southeast Asia, the Philippine index rose, while those of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia were lower.

BRITAIN-POLITICS: Britain’s new Treasury chief pledged Thursday there will be no emergency national budget — even though there are question marks hanging over the economy following the country’s decision to leave the European Union. Philip Hammond, one of Prime Minister Theresa May’s first appointments, offered calming tones of reassurance to the markets and the general public in a series of interviews after taking office. The media blitz suggests that one of the new government’s first priorities is to counter worries that the economy will slip into recession amid a softening of consumer and business confidence. Hammond will meet with the head of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, on Thursday to “assess where we are.” The comments come ahead of a decision by the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee on whether to stimulate the economy. Carney has already indicated that some sort of stimulus will be offered during the summer months as his pre-vote warnings about the impact on the economy had begun to crystallize.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “There is a general expectation among economists that the BoE and the ECB will introduce more stimulus in the coming weeks and months and this is likely to support the recent bounce,” said Alex Furber of CMC Markets, referring to the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 105.49 yen after closing at 104.12 on Wednesday. The euro edged up to $1.1108 after closing at $1.1098 the previous day.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 62 cents at $45.37 a barrel after closing at $44.75 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, added 55 cents to $46.81 a barrel. On Wednesday, it closed at $46.26 a barrel.