International equity markets finished with solid gains on Friday night as US companies reported better-than-expected earnings results and after the ECB announced that it has come up with a seven-year budget plan worth about 960 billion euros.
In Europe, the ECB has decided to reduce the eurozone’s budget for the first time in 56 years on the back of concerns that the euro’s recent advance may not bode well for the region’s recovery.
In the US, the Dow Jones added 49 points (+0.4%) to settle at 13993 whilst the S&P climbed nine points (+0.6%) to settle at 1518. The Nasdaq increased 29 points (+0.9%) to settle at 3194.
In Europe, the UK’s FTSE rose 36 points (+0.6%) to settle at 6264 whilst Germany’s DAX added a further 61 points (+0.8%) to settle at 7652. France’s CAC climbed 48 points (+1.4%) to settle at 3650.
In the commodity space, oil finished lower even after it was reported that China’s exports increased 25% in the previous month. This was attributed to an increase in US crude inventories, which climbed 2.62 million barrels, to 371.7 million, in the past week. Crude oil for March delivery declined $0.11 to settle at $95.72 per barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery fell $4.40 (-0.3%) to settle at $1,666.90 per ounce as market optimism siphoned investments to more risky holdings.
In the currency space, the Japanese yen finished higher against its peers after the country’s Financial Minister, Mr. Taro Aso, mentioned that the yen’s recent decline was “unexpected”.
The euro fell against the US dollar after ECB President, Mr. Mario Draghi, said that officials will be on the lookout as to whether the currency’s recent advance might affect the region’s inflation.
The US dollar fell against the yen for the same reasons the latter currency advanced. Today will see the release of the home loans data (11:30am, AEDT).