US equity indices ended the day mostly in the red, as traders refrained from piling up their holdings ahead of today’s NFP release. The Dow 30 index managed to score 9.45 points to 17,660.71 (+0.05%), the S&P 500 index lost 0.49 points to 2,050.63 (-0.02%), and the Nasdaq fell 8.54 points to 4,717.09 (-0.18%). The S&P 500 VIX, which is considered a gauge of market uncertainty, fell 0.14 points to 15.91 (-0.87%) to indicate that a bit of risk appetite is still present.
Early jobs indicators from the US showed mixed results, with the ADP non-farm employment change falling far short of expectations and the Challenger job cuts data showing a smaller 5.8% gain year-over-year compared to the earlier 31.7% jump. Analysts are expecting to see 203K in hiring gains for April, lower than the previous month’s 215K increase but still likely enough to keep the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.0%. Average hourly earnings could post another 0.3% uptick.
FTSE ends higher despite weak services PMI
Anti-Brexit sentiment appears to be lifting the pound once more, as London mayor Boris Johnson is set to be replaced in the recent elections. The London FTSE advanced 5.23 points to 6,117.25 (+0.09%) even as the UK services PMI slipped from 53.7 to 52.3 instead of just dipping to 53.6.
European markets were also mostly lower, although the German DAX was able to climb 23.61 points to 9,851.61 (+0.24%). The French CAC 40 fell 4.77 points to 4,391.46 (-0.11%) while the Euro Stoxx 50 slipped 6.93 points to 2,931.82 (-0.24%) even while most European banks were closed for the holiday. The Swiss franc posted a sharp drop against its forex peers, although there were no major announcements made.
Asian markets reeling from weaker commodities
Asian markets are mostly in the red so far, as the return of Japanese traders from their long holiday did little to support the Nikkei. The index is down 119.29 points to 16,025.55 (-0.75%) as investors are reacting to the recent slump in commodities. WTI crude oil is down to $43.84/barrel and Brent crude oil fell to $44.60/barrel.
Earlier in the day, the Reserve Bank of Australia released its official monetary policy statement after cutting rates by 0.25% on Tuesday. The report contained downgraded inflation forecasts, hinting that there could be scope for additional cuts. The China A50 index is down 128.50 points to 9,506.96 (-1.33%), the Hang Seng is down 293.32 points to 20,156.50 (-1.43%), and the S&P ASX 200 is down 16.16 points to 5,264.10 (-0.28%).
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