US futures, Europe stocks gain before jobs data

The Charging Bull statue, also known as the Wall St. Bull, is seen in the financial district of New York City, US. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: US stock futures and European shares edged higher Thursday in a lacklustre session marked by thin trading volumes thanks to the American holiday. Brazilian stocks surged and the real gained as a congressional committee voted to advance the pension-reform bill. Gold slipped but stayed above US$1,400 and WTI futures fell.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index finished modestly higher, with real estate firms and banks lifting the gauge. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index also nudged up after Asia’s benchmark finished higher overall thanks to gains in Japan and South Korea. Trading volumes were well below average across the board, with US markets shut for the July 4 holiday and investors counting down to Friday’s American jobs report.

Core European bonds climbed, with German 10-year yields sliding below the European Central Bank’s deposit rate for the first time. Treasuries aren’t trading thanks to Independence Day. The dollar was slightly lower in the wake of accusations from President Donald Trump that the European Union and China engage in currency manipulation, while the euro edged higher.

Thursday’s holiday in the US is giving many investors a breather after a hectic few weeks in which bonds surged and stocks hit records as they tracked every twist in the trade war, tried to second guess central bankers and analyzed every data point.

“Friday’s data is important to the extent that it will calibrate expectations for what the Fed could deliver later this month,” said Ned Rumpeltin, European head of FX strategy at Toronto-Dominion Bank in London. “It is more about confirming the market’s current bias rather than setting fresh expectations.”

On the currency-war front, Trump in a Twitter post-Wednesday said China and Europe are playing a “big currency manipulation game” and “pumping money into their system” to compete with the US He said America should match their efforts “or continue being dummies” who watch other countries manipulate currencies.