Sterling gains, S&P 500 snaps five-day losing streak

Reuters New York | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on June 17, 2016


Sterling rose versus the dollar and US stocks broke a five-day losing streak on Thursday as campaigning for Britain's vote on whether to leave the European Union was temporarily suspended following the shooting death of a pro-EU British lawmaker.

Oil prices fell for a sixth straight session on global economic worries.

MP shot dead

British Member of Parliament Jo Cox, who was shot dead in the street in her constituency in northern England earlier in the day, had been a vocal supporter of Britain remaining within the EU.

Whether Britain will leave the EU, dubbed “Brexit,” has rattled markets in recent sessions because of its potential to create more global economic uncertainty. The issue will be decided in a referendum next Thursday.

British pound

The British pound gained following the news of Cox's death. It was up 0.2 per cent against the dollar at $1.4209 after trading lower for most of the session.

“Certainly people are talking about the possibility that this (incident) does influence the Brexit vote in favor of remain. It is a tragic event all around. There is a sense, there is an immediate emotional reaction, but there is still a week before the referendum itself” on June 23, said Alan Ruskin, global co-head of FX research at Deutsche Bank in New York.

The rival referendum campaign groups said they were suspending activities for the day, with the Remain camp saying its activities would also be suspended on Friday.

The benchmark S&P 500 index snapped a five-day losing streak after erasing sharp losses earlier in the session.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 92.93 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 17,733.1, the S&P 500 gained 6.49 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 2,077.99 and the Nasdaq Composite ended 9.98 points, or 0.21 per cent, higher at 4,844.92.

The European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 0.5 per cent.

Oil prices extended recent losses to a sixth day, their longest slide since early January.

Brent crude futures fell $1.78, or 3.6 per cent, to settle at $47.19 a barrel, while US crude dropped $1.80, or 3.8 per cent, to settle at $46.21.

Brent has lost about $5 a barrel, or around 10 per cent, over the past six sessions.

The yen jumped to its strongest in nearly two years versus the dollar after the Bank of Japan held off from further easing monetary policy. The dollar was down 1.6 percent to 104.34 yen .

The Bank of Japan's decision weighed on US bond yields, which fell to their lowest in four years.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last up 8/32 in price to yield 1.565 per cent. Yields fell as low as 1.518 per cent in early trading.

Published on June 17, 2016
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