Stocks Fluctuate Treasuries Edge Up; Pound Slips: Markets WrapDecember 18, 2019
European stocks edged higher on Wednesday while U.S. equity futures fluctuated and Asian shares were mixed. Bonds also nudged upward while the pound extended its decline.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index traded slightly higher as most national benchmarks in the region were in the green. Luxury TV and stereo maker Bang & Olufsen plunged after issuing its fourth profit warning in a year. U.S. futures were little changed a day after the S&P 500 Index closed just one index point higher at a new record, amid positive U.S. factory and housing data. However FedEx Corp. plunged in after-market trading after cutting its profit forecast for the second straight quarter.
Asian equities were mixed, with shares falling in Tokyo but rising in Hong Kong and India. The pound slipped, extending a tumble from Tuesday on renewed concern that a no-deal Brexit is possible. The yuan was steady after China’s central bank injected liquidity into the financial system.
“We are a little bit cautious going into 2020, not getting too carried away with the optimism that the equity markets are displaying right now,” said Susan Buckley, managing director of global liquid strategies at QIC Ltd. “We are still looking at an outlook of slow growth in 2020.”
Elsewhere, the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump comes to a head today, with the House of Representatives set to vote on two articles that will likely set up a January trial in the Senate, where he’s expected to be acquitted.
Meanwhile, West Texas crude pulled back after rising above $61 a barrel for the first time in three months. Bitcoin languished below $7,000.