In US economic data, initial jobless claims rose by 21,000 to 218,000 last week (survey: 200,000). Existing home sales fell by 2.4% in April to an annual rate of 5.61 million, the lowest since June 2020 (survey: 5.64m). The Conference Board leading index dipped 0.3% in April (survey: flat). The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell from 17.6 to a 2-year low of 2.6 in May (survey: 15).

European sharemarkets were weaker on Thursday. The panEuropean STOXX 600 index fell by 1.4%, with food and beverages stocks down 3.4% to lead losses. The German Dax index fell by 0.9% and the UK FTSE index lost 1.8%. Shares of Britain’s Royal Mail plunged 12.4% after the company’s 2021-22 profit missed market expectations. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto fell by 0.5% while BHP shares gained 0.5%.

US sharemarkets fell on Thursday as investors weighed prospects for economic growth against a backdrop of rising prices and tightening monetary policy. Shares of tech bellwether Cisco Systems slumped 13.7% after it cut its full-year revenue growth forecast. Under Armour shares shed 11.9% after the surprise departure of the sportswear maker’s CEO Patrik Frisk. But shares of software company Synopsys lifted 10.3% after an earnings beat. The Dow Jones index closed lower by 237 points or 0.8%. The S&P 500 index dipped 0.6% and the Nasdaq index shed 30 points or 0.3%.

US treasuries rose on Thursday (yields lower) as softer US economic data supported growth concerns amid an aggressive path of monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve. The US Treasury sold US$14 billion of 10-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) at a yield of 0.232% into weak demand. US 10-year yields fell by around 4 points to near 2.84%. And US 2-year yields fell by around 5 points to near 2.62%.

Major currencies were stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.0463 to highs near US$1.0607 and was near US$1.0580 at the US close. The Aussie dollar firmed from lows near US69.60 cents to highs near US70.72 cents and was near US70.45 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen lifted from 128.66 yen per US dollar to JPY127.05 and was near JPY127.80 at the US close.

Global oil prices rose by around 2.5% on Thursday. Chinese officials planned to ease restrictions in Shanghai, which could further tighten global energy supply, and the US dollar retreated after recent
gains. The Brent crude price rose by US$2.93 or 2.7% to US$112.04 a barrel. And the US Nymex crude price gained US$2.62 or 2.4% to US$112.21 a barrel.

Base metal prices climbed on Thursday as the weaker US dollar boosted the appeal of metals for investors holding foreign currencies. Nickel surged 8% as traders covered short positions amid thin
liquidity. Copper was up 2.3% with tin 3.6% higher.

The gold futures price rose by US$25.30 or 1.4% to US$1,841.20 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,841 an ounce at the US close. The iron ore futures price advanced by US$1.11 or 0.9% to
US$131.03 a tonne as investors weighed stimulus pledges from China against signs the nation’s economy is slowing down. Ahead: In China, loan prime rates are announced.

Originally published by CommSec