A pedestrian walks past men looking at an electronic monitor displaying shares prices outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg)

Stocks Finish Higher on Technology, Media Gains: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks closed higher on gains by big technology and media companies, outweighing laggard financial and industrial shares. The dollar hit an 11-month high and 10-year Treasury yields tightened.

Comcast Corp. and Walt Disney Co. were among the big gainers in the S&P 500 Index Thursday as bidding for 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets heated up. Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and other tech giants also climbed, sending the Nasdaq Composite Index to a record high. But banks lagged thanks to a flattening yield curve.

“Technology stocks tend to be less inclined to be slowed down by rising interest rates,” Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR Inc., said by phone. “Of the two major concerns we have in the market, whether it’s monetary policy or trade policy, tech seems to be a bit agnostic to those concerns.”

Stocks Finish Higher on Technology, Media Gains: Markets Wrap

European stocks also gained after the region’s central bank delivered a somewhat dovish message to investors who had been reeling from disappointing China data and the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed after the ECB held interest rates and signaled that stimulus may last until the end of the year and rates will remain steady until at least the summer of 2019. The euro suffered its biggest drop in about two years and major government bonds rallied.

After the decision, ECB President Mario Draghi struck a balanced tone. He said substantial progress had been made in adjusting the path of inflation -- one of the goals of the QE program -- but that growth in the region is poised to slow this year, while protectionism remains a risk.

The ECB’s mixed message comes hot on the heels of conflicting signals from the world’s two biggest economies. The Fed talked up U.S. growth as it raised rates and hinted at a total of four hikes in 2018, while China’s central bank unexpectedly failed to follow the increase. Policy makers in the Asian nation may well be concerned at its slowing pace of expansion; economic indicators including retail sales and industrial output missed estimates for May. Adding to the gloom, President Donald Trump threatened to “strongly” confront China on trade.

Asian shares dropped in the wake of the Fed announcement and China data. Haven assets such as gold advanced while emerging-market equities slid.

These are some key events to watch this week:

  • The Bank of Japan June monetary policy decision and news conference is Friday.
  • FIFA expects more than 3 billion viewers for the World Cup that begins this week in Russia.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index increased 0.3 percent as of 4:01 p.m. New York time.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.7 percent to a record high.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.2 percent to the highest in more than three weeks.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index decreased 1 percent to the lowest in almost two weeks.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index jumped 1 percent to the highest in 11 months.
  • The euro sank 1.7 percent to $1.1586, its biggest drop in about two years.
  • The British pound decreased 0.7 percent to $1.3278.
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.2 percent to 110.61 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell three basis points to 2.93 percent.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield dipped six basis points to 0.43 percent.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield decreased three basis points to 1.334 percent, the lowest in more than a week.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.5 percent to $66.95 a barrel.
  • Gold climbed 0.3 percent to $1,3075.32 an ounce.
  • LME copper sank 1.1 percent to $7,177 per metric ton, the biggest drop in three weeks.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.