Opening Market Wrap Dec 22,2017:`qua patet orbis’.

In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index eked out small gains on Friday as gains in banks and commodities trading houses offset weakness in pharmaceuticals, while Kobe Steel stumbled after it said senior executives were aware of its data tampering.

The Nikkei ended 0.2 percent higher at 22,902.76.

The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent to 1,829.08.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was 0.5 percent higher.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3 percent and Shanghai fell 0.1 percent.

Australian stocks advanced 0.15 percent.

South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.45 percent.

In Currency Markets the dollar edged up on Friday though it remained on track for weekly losses, while the euro fell after Catalan vote results indicated a victory for separatists in a blow to Madrid.

The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.1848 after falling as low as $1.1817 in the Asian morning session.

The dollar was steady on the day against the yen at 113.32 poised to gain 0.6 percent for the week.

The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.1 percent at 93.400.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar was stronger, with Aussie up 0.17 percent at $0.7715.

The Kiwi held steady at $0.7020.

In Commodities Markets  oil prices on Friday fell away from some of its highest levels since 2015, weighed down by rising U.S. output and the expected January re-opening of the Forties pipeline in the North Sea.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $58.18 a barrel, down 0.3 percent, from their last settlement.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $64.75 a barrel, down 0.2 percent.

Also weighing on the market was the expected return of the 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) Forties pipeline system in the North Sea in January. The pipeline, which delivers crude underpinning Brent futures, was shut earlier this month due to a crack.

In US Equity Markets  the three main stock indexes rose on Thursday, boosted by bank and energy stocks as investors bet on more economically sensitive sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.23 percent, to 24,782.29.

The S&P 500 gained 0.20 percent, to 2,684.57.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.06 percent, to 6,965.36.

Chevron shares jumped 3.3 percent. The shares earlier touched a record high of $125.35, after broker Cowen & Co raised its price target on the stock by nearly a third to $160.

Shares of Accenture PLC rose 1.6 percent after the consulting and outsourcing services provider reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street forecasts, driven by digital and cloud services business.

In Bond Markets  Japanese government bonds edged higher on Friday, bolstered by news that the Japanese government will pare its debt issuance next year to the smallest total amount in nine years.

The benchmark 10-year cash JGB yield inched down half a basis point to 0.050 percent.

10-year JGB futures ended up 0.08 point at 150.78.

In the superlong zone, the 20-year yield was half a basis point lower at 0.570 percent, while the 30-year yield was flat at 0.815 percent.



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