Most global markets ended the week on a high during Friday night’s session, as a measure of US stock market volatility fell to its lowest since March 2013.
It was yet another night of milestones on Wall Street, with the S&P500 closing at a new record high amid a sharp drop in the CBOE Volatility Index.
Homebuilders led the advance on the Street after new US home sales surged more-than-expected in April, as borrowers took advantage of falling interest rates.
Across the Atlantic, France and Germany logged modest gains as a drop in German business confidence this month fuelled expectations of an imminent stimulus announcement from the European Central Bank.
It was a different story in the UK, where the Footsie slipped amid speculation the Bank of England will soon raise interest rates in response to soaring house prices and rising inflation.
In commodity markets, oil continued to strengthen following reports of fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists, leaving scores dead and threatening energy supply disruptions from the region.
The positive update on the US housing sector dimmed gold’s safe haven appeal, and saw the precious metal suffer a small loss for the week.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper climbed almost one percent following Thursday’s surprisingly positive Chinese PMI numbers, which brightened the demand outlook for the red metal.
Among the major currency pairs, the US dollar appreciated versus the yen and euro as the rebound in new American home sales boosted the likelihood of the Fed moving to a tightening bias.
It was a poor week overall for the euro, which suffered its third consecutive weekly decline versus the greenback as traders position for a new round of ECB stimulus next month.