Global shares traded in fairly narrow ranges Friday as the quarterly U.S. corporate earnings results season began in earnest and as investors awaited some key U.S. economic data.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.3 percent at 7,394 while Germany’s DAX was flat at 12,645. The CAC 40 in France was 0.1 percent higher at 5,240. U.S. stocks were poised for a tepid open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.1 percent.
EARNINGS WATCH: Companies in the U.S. are beginning to report quarterly financial results, with banks taking center stage on Friday. The largest U.S. bank by assets, JPMorgan Chase & Co., reported a second quarter profit of $1.82 per share, above expectations for $1.59 a share.
U.S. DATA: Competing with earnings for investor attention are monthly U.S. inflation and retail sales figures. Both, but particularly the inflation data, could impinge on expectations on how many more interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve will make this year. In a congressional testimony this week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested that interest rates may rise more gradually than previously thought, and that helped stocks while weighing on the dollar.
ANALYST TAKE: “After Yellen highlighted worries about inflation weakness earlier in the week, today’s reading will be key for dollar direction into the rest of the month,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. “Meanwhile, bank earnings will let us see whether trading revenue has suffered from the lack of volatility in recent months.”
ASIA SCORECARD: Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent to 20,118.86 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,414.63. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up 0.2 percent to 26,389.23 and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 3,222.42. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,765.10.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 28 cents to $46.37 per barrel in electronic trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 29 cents to $48.71 per barrel in London
CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.1417 while the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 113.07 yen.