“Stocks Head for Weekly Advance as Dollar Slumps: Markets Wrap.”
U.S. stocks were mixed Friday, with major benchmarks on track for the best week in two months amid growing conviction that inflation will remain tame and as trade tensions eased.
The dollar slumped, leaving it poised for the first weekly decline in a month, while 10-year Treasury yields hovered below 3 percent. The S&P 500 Index edged higher, the Nasdaq Composite slipped and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fluctuated after a rally in Asia. Emerging-market shares rose for a fifth day, the best winning streak since January. Oil slipped, but headed for a second week of gains after the U.S. quit the Iran nuclear deal.
A bullish tone took hold in equities following a great earnings season for the biggest U.S. companies and removal of some trade anxiety as China seemed to soften its tone. At the same time, investor anxiety about a rapid rise in global interest rates was eased after a tame inflation reading in the U.S. and a dovish policy decision by the Bank of England. Comments from European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi at a conference in Italy will be the focus later.
“With the U.S. market pricing very much in line with the Fed’s projections, one of the few things that could take it by surprise was an uptick in inflation,” Gordon Kerr, a fixed-income trader at Johannesburg-based FirstRand Bank Ltd., said in a client note. “Yesterday’s print helped to calm those fears.”
Easing geopolitical tensions aided gains in Asian stocks, with Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un set for their landmark meeting in Singapore on June 12. Malaysian assets trading offshore began to stabilize after the shock election win for the opposition. Argentina’s local markets are in focus as the country seeks a credit line from the International Monetary Fund.
“Russia, after Netanyahu visit, backs off Syria S-300 missile supplies.”
Russia is not in talks with the Syrian government about supplying advanced S-300 ground-to-air missiles and does not think they are needed, the Izvestia daily cited a top Kremlin aide as saying on Friday, in an apparent U-turn by Moscow. The comments, by Vladimir Kozhin, an aide to President Vladimir Putin who oversees Russian military assistance to other countries, follow a visit to Moscow by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, who has been lobbying Putin hard not to transfer the missiles.
Russia last month hinted it would supply the weapons to President Bashar al-Assad, over Israeli objections, after Western military strikes on Syria. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the strikes had removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold the missiles and Russia’s Kommersant daily cited unnamed military sources as saying deliveries might begin imminently.
But Kozhin’s comments, released so soon after Netanyahu’s Moscow talks with Putin, suggest the Israeli leader’s lobbying efforts have, for the time being, paid off. The possibility of missile supplies to Assad along with its military foray into Syria itself has helped Moscow boost its Middle East clout. with Putin hosting everyone from Netanyahu to the presidents of Turkey and Iran and the Saudi king.
Israel has made repeated efforts to persuade Moscow not to sell the S-300s to Syria, as it fears this would hinder its aerial capabilities against arms shipments to Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah. Israel has carried out scores of air strikes against suspected shipments.
“Iran condemns wave of Israeli air strikes in Syria.”
Iran has backed Syria’s «right to defend itself» after Israel launched strikes on what it said was Iranian military infrastructure inside Syria. In the first comments by Iran since Thursday’s wave of strikes, the foreign ministry condemned the «blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty».
The strikes were the heaviest carried out by Israel on Syria in decades. They came after 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military positions in the occupied Golan Heights. Israel said Iranian fighters had carried out that attack. Iran has neither directly confirmed or denied this but has said that Israel’s attacks on Syria were founded «on self-proclaimed, baseless pretexts».
Thousands of militiamen armed, trained and financed by Iran have also been battling rebel forces alongside Syrian soldiers. On Thursday, in response to the Golan Heights attack, Israel said its fighter jets had struck almost all of Iran’s military infrastructure inside Syria – some 70 targets – in its biggest assault since Syria’s civil war started in 2011. Iran and Israel are enemies but have never fought a direct war.
The sanctions issue has added to tensions between the US and its European allies over the nuclear deal. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says European companies should not have to pay for the US decision.
“Bitcoin Slips Below $9,000 After Korean Exchange Raid.”
Bitcoin was on course to eke out two weeks in a row above the $9,000 mark, until now.
The top digital token broke its streak Friday after South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Upbit, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, renewing concerns that heightened regulatory scrutiny around the world could hurt business and dampen enthusiasm for digital assets.
The top digital token declined as much as 6.4 percent to as low as $8,508 in New York trading, the lowest level in three weeks, according to Bloomberg data.
There was also speculation that the trustee of failed exchange Mt. Gox was selling its Bitcoin to pay back creditors.
Bitcoin’s drop is part of a broader selloff in the cryptocurrency market, which is currently worth around $380 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com. That’s almost $100 billion less than it was worth a week ago. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, which measures the performance of the largest digital tokens, fell as much as 14 percent.
The market’s decline comes on the eve of Blockchain Week in New York, where thousands of boosters of crypto assets will gather for about two dozen events and conferences.