LONDON – Global stocks and the pound rose Friday after gains on Wall Street and as Britain’s frenzied debate on whether to leave the European Union was put on hold for a second day following the killing of a member of parliament.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX rose 1.4 per cent to 9,682 and France’s CAC 40 added 1.4 per cent to 4,212. London’s FTSE 100 rose 1.2 per cent to 6,024. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow and Standard & Poor’s 500 index were flat.
BRITAIN FOCUS: Investors’ focus has increasingly turned to Britain’s vote next week on whether to leave the EU. The campaigning became heated this week but was halted after the killing of a British politician in favour of staying in the EU. The motive of the killer, who was arrested, was not clear. The market reaction was, grimly, to assume that the incident would favour the campaign to remain in the EU. Stocks and the pound rose and bookies showed a smaller chance of a British exit, or Brexit. The pound is up about 2 per cent since then, at $1.4257.
ANALYST TAKE: “This tragic event may have dampened the leave campaign’s momentum somewhat,” said Daniel Vernazza, analyst at UniCredit bank. He noted the movement in the pound was the most significant indicator that “the markets have taken that news to be in favour of the remain campaign.”
U.S. INFLATION: Market sentiment was also helped by a report showing consumer prices in the U.S. rose moderately in May, giving some reassurance after the Federal Reserve expressed concern about low inflation, a possible indicator of weak growth. The increase was driven by energy costs and the biggest gain in shelter costs in more than nine years. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that consumer prices increased 0.2 per cent last month following a 0.4 per cent increase in April.
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.1 per cent to 15,599.66 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 per cent to 2,885.11. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.7 per cent to 20,169.98 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.3 per cent to 5,162.70. Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.1 per cent to 1,953.40 and India’s Sensex rose 0.4 per cent to 26,645.12. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines also rose, while Indonesia and New Zealand declined.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 52 cents to $46.73 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank $1.80 on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 72 cents to $48.48 in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 104.30 yen from 104.49 yen while the euro gained slightly to $1.1251 from $1.1236.