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Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Thursday

CommoditiesMar 29, 2018 05:33AM ET
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© Reuters. Top 5 things to know today in financial markets - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, March 29:

1. Global Stocks Rebound After Tech Sell-Off

Global equities were mostly higher on the final day of trading for the week, the month, and the first quarter, as investors attempted to shake off a tech-led sell-off which had spread across global markets.

Volumes were subdued, with many traders wrapping up ahead of the Easter holiday.

In Asia, most of the bourses in the region finished in positive territory, as hopes for a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea supported appetite for riskier assets.

Japan's Nikkei closed up around 0.6%, while stocks in China and Korea also scored gains.

Elsewhere, in Europe, the continent's major bourses edged higher in mid-morning trade, as a recovery among cyclical sectors and a raft of M&A news helped support sentiment.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index, the region's broadest measure of share prices, was up nearly 0.5%, with most sectors trading in the green. In Germany, the DAX tacked on around 0.8%, while London's FTSE100 ticked up 0.4%.

Meanwhile, on Wall Street, U.S. stock futures pointed to modest gains at the open, indicating that the major averages were set to rebound from a tech-led sell-off.

The blue-chip Dow futures gained 62 points, or around 0.3%, the S&P 500 futures advanced 9 points, or about 0.4%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures rose 43 points, or roughly 0.6%.

All three major U.S. indexes ended the day in negative territory on Wednesday, as a sharp drop in Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) shares and a continuing slide in technology stocks weighed.

2. Dollar Dips After Strong Gains

The dollar dipped against the yen, pausing for breath one day after posting its largest daily percentage gain in around six months.

USD/JPY was down nearly 0.3% to 106.55, after ending Wednesday’s session with gains of 1.4%, the largest increase since September 11.

The greenback was boosted by data highlighting faster U.S. economic growth and hopes for a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea.

Against the euro, the dollar was a shade lower as investors looked ahead to a reading on German consumer prices for March, due at 1200GMT (8AM ET).

In the bond market, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield inched down to 2.766%.

3. Fed's Preferred Inflation Metric in Focus

Thursday's calendar features a closely-watched report on personal income and spending for February, which includes the personal consumption expenditures inflation data - the Federal Reserve's preferred metric for inflation - at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT).

The consensus forecast is that the report will show that the core PCE price index inched up 0.2% last month, after rising 0.3% a month earlier. On an annualized basis, core PCE prices are expected to rise 1.6%, compared to a 1.5%-increase in the preceding month.

The Fed uses core PCE as a tool to help determine whether to raise or lower interest rates, with the aim of keeping inflation at a rate of 2% or below.

Rising inflation would be a catalyst to push the Fed toward raising interest rates at a faster pace than currently expected.

Investors will also get the weekly reading on initial jobless claims, the March reading on manufacturing activity in the Midwest, and the University of Michigan’s final check on consumer sentiment in March.

The Fed hiked rates last week and stuck to its projection for three rate hikes this year.

4. Oil Prices Edge Up On OPEC Hopes

Oil prices edged higher, as the prospect of an extension to OPEC-led production cuts into next year provided support.

U.S. WTI crude futures added 21 cents, or 0.3%, to $64.58 per barrel, while Brent futures held steady at $68.72 per barrel.

Gains were limited by rising crude inventories and production in the United States.

5. Bitcoin Sinks As "Death Cross"' Looms

Bitcoin prices sank back towards the $7,000-level, as investors hit the panic button after chart patterns revealed that the cryptocurrency is nearing a "death cross."

The term is used to describe a crossover of the 50-day moving average and the longer-term 200-day moving average. Technicians often look at this pattern as a bearish sign of what's to come.

The world's biggest virtual currency by market cap fell around 5% to $7,567, marking a decline of more than $300 (BTC/USD). It hit an intraday low of $7,323.

Prices of other popular digital coins also fell, with Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, tumbling about 9% to $418.39.

The third largest cryptocurrency Ripple lost roughly 5% to trade at $0.54514.

Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Thursday

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