India Morning Call-Global Markets

Thu May 22, 2014 11:03pm EDT

EQUITIES

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks ended higher for the second straight session on Thursday, led by small-cap stocks, while the Nasdaq climbed on a rally in biotech shares.

The surge in biotech stocks extended the recent trend of volatile trading. Small-caps and the so-called momentum names in the Internet and biotech spaces have recently echoed the broader market's direction, but moved in an outsized fashion, often without specific news.

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LONDON - Britain's top share index ended flat on Thursday as stronger miners on steadier China data and a rise in tobacco stocks on deal-making hopes were offset by sharp declines in firms including Royal Mail and AstraZeneca.

Miners were boosted by signs of stabilisation in the economy of top metals consumer China, where the factory sector turned in its best performance in five months in May, a private survey showed.

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TOKYO - Japan's Nikkei share average surged to a four-week high on Friday morning, thanks to upbeat economic data in Japan's two biggest trade partners, with the yen's retreat rounding out an encouraging array of positive catalysts.

The Nikkei share average rose 1.0 percent to 14,475.90, pulling further away from a one-month low of 13,964 hit on Wednesday and briefly tapping levels not seen since April 25.

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HONG KONG - Hang Seng Index set to open up 0.3 percent.

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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

SYDNEY - The dollar hovered at one-week highs against the yen and held its ground on the euro early on Friday, having drifted up broadly after promising U.S. housing and factory activity data gave Treasury yields a bit of a lift.

The dollar index last traded at 80.228 after edging up 0.2 percent on Thursday. Against the yen, the greenback stood at 101.79, not far from the overnight high of 101.82 and well off a 3-1/2 month trough of 100.80 plumbed on Wednesday..

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TREASURIES

NEW YORK - U.S. Treasuries prices edged lower on Thursday after stronger economic data on U.S. existing home sales and factory activity lifted sentiment, while larger-than-expected weekly jobless claims failed to spur safe-haven bids.

The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.65 million units in April, marking the second sales increase in nine months.

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COMMODITIES

PRECIOUS METALS

SINGAPORE - Palladium was steady near a 2-1/2 year high on Friday and was headed for its best week in two months on supply fears due to a prolonged strike in major producer South Africa.

Platinum was on track for its second straight weekly gain, also on supply worries, while gold was headed for a flat week.

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BASE METALS

SYDNEY - London nickel looked set to pocket a 3.5 percent weekly gain on Friday, building on the year's stellar advance after a shutdown of Indonesian supply, while copper targeted a flat weekly close following its push to two-month peaks.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange has been the biggest gainer this week, trading at $19,710 a tonne by 0115 GMT as a burst of spot demand fights for limited supply after Indonesia curbed ore exports in January. Prices are up almost 42 percent this year.

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OIL

NEW YORK - Global oil prices slid lower on Thursday after Brent touched a 2-1/2 month high and traders took profit on a rally that was driven by ongoing violence in Libya and positive economic data in China and the United States.

Brent and U.S. oil prices surged on Wednesday after a U.S. Energy Information Administration report showed crude stocks fell by 7.2 million barrels last week. EIA/S

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