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Stocks Muted in Europe, Asia as Crude Slips

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07/04/2019 | 08:11am EDT

By Lauren Almeida and Paul J. Davies

European stocks were subdued Thursday, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high, as investors prepared for quieter trading sessions with U.S. markets closed for Independence Day.

Asian stock markets were mixed, with Japan's Nikkei 225 gaining 0.3% while stocks in Shanghai fell by the same magnitude.

The recent rush into government bonds gathered pace Thursday morning as Germany's 10-year bond yield fell as low as minus 0.405%, which is below the European interest rate of minus 0.4%. Benchmark yields hit new lows on Wednesday as investors speculated that the European Central Bank would loosen monetary policy.

Investors are likely to pay close attention to currency markets after President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that China and Europe were manipulating their currencies, and that the U.S. should follow suit.

The dollar lost 0.1% against the Hong Kong dollar, bringing its decline over the past month to nearly 1%. One dollar now buys just HK$7.79 and this week is the first time the dollar has fallen below the HK$7.80 peg set by Chinese territory for its currency since November 2017. Ryan Lam, head of research at Shanghai Commercial Bank, attributes the Hong Kong dollar's strength to investors preparing funds to subscribe to Budweiser's initial public offering of its Asia-Pacific unit, which could raise as much as $9.8 billion.

U.S. crude oil futures declined by about 0.5%, as investors remained concerned that global demand may not keep up with supply, evidenced by selloffs that followed OPEC+'s production cut extension earlier in the week. Gold prices slid 0.3%.

U.S. stocks ended Wednesday after hitting new highs: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record in its fourth straight session of gains. The S&P 500 index rose to hit its eighth milestone for this year.

Write to Paul J. Davies at paul.davies@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.13% 26806.55 Delayed Quote.14.76%
GOLD -0.42% 1485.03 Delayed Quote.16.28%
NASDAQ 100 0.82% 7933.04681 Delayed Quote.25.47%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.88% 8160.165911 Delayed Quote.22.93%
NIKKEI 225 0.25% 22548.9 Real-time Quote.12.18%
S&P 500 0.65% 3005.45 Delayed Quote.19.12%
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