Global stocks mostly rose Friday as authorities stepped in to ease the uncertainty surrounding the British vote to leave the European Union. Investors flocked to equities in the face of narrowing choices for investments amid low or negative interest rates on many bonds.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.5 percent at 6,537 and Germany’s DAX added 0.3 percent to 9,711. France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.3 percent to 4,249. U.S. futures indicate a more cautious opening on Wall Street with Dow futures flat and the S&P futures down 0.1 percent.
BREXIT REACTION: The Bank of England said Thursday it would likely offer more monetary stimulus to the British economy to help it cope with the drop in business activity it is experiencing due to the “Brexit” vote. The European Central Bank was reported by Bloomberg to be considering broadening its stimulus program. And the British government said Friday it would abandon its goals of achieving a budget surplus by the end of the decade, which would free up more money for the economy.
STOCKS VS BONDS: Expectations of more stimulus from central banks, which lowers returns on fixed-income investments like bonds, have pushed investors into buying stocks. Returns on many government bonds around the world — particularly in Europe and Japan — are negative. “Investors have little choice but plow their capital back into equities,” said Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.7 percent to close at 15,682.48. China’s Shanghai Composite index was up 0.1 percent to 2,932.48. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 index gained 0.3 percent to 5,246.60. South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.9 percent to 1,987.32. Taiwan’s TAIEX index rose 0.8 percent to 8,738.24. Southeast Asian markets were mixed. The Hong Kong market was closed for holiday.
OIL: U.S. crude fell 32 cents at $48.01 a barrel in electronic trading in the New York. On Thursday it fell $1.55. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 35 cents to $49.38, adding to a 93 cents loss the previous day.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 102.59 yen after closing at 103.11 yen on Thursday. The euro edged up to $1.1119 from 1.1106, while the pound dropped to $1.3297 from just above $1.3300.
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