Stocks and oil rallies falter

Market optimism has been lifted by news that Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump agreed to meet in Singapore next month

London (AFP) – Europe’s main stock markets ran out of steam Friday in an “uninspired” performance amid a dearth of economic data, dealers said. 

London stocks turned flat, having won 0.5 percent the previous day on the weak pound after the Bank of England held interest rates but cut its 2018 economic growth forecast.

Frankfurt and Paris meanwhile declined by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

“European equity markets are mixed… as a lack of macroeconomic news has left traders uninspired,” said CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden.

“Stocks in Europe have had a good run recently, and this could just be a case of the bulls taking a breather.”

Asian bourses extended this week’s gains after another Wall Street rally, as traders welcomed below-forecast US inflation data that dented expectations for a sharp lift in US interest rates.

While geopolitical tensions continue to linger after Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear pact this week, dealers were buoyed by the prospect of cheaper borrowing after data showed consumer prices edged up only slightly in April.

News that Trump and Kim Jong Un had agreed to meet on June 12 in Singapore — the first US-North Korean summit in history — lifted optimism and fuelled hopes for peace on the Korean peninsula.

The inflation data provided some relief to trading floors, which have fluctuated over recent months on worries that an improving US economy and an expected surge in inflation will force the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy.

“The market is breathing a sigh of relief that there was not an upside surprise to the inflation stats,” wrote Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer of Bleakley Financial Group, in an email to clients.

The news lifted all three main indices on Wall Street and those gains extended into Asia.

– Oil rally falters –

This week’s oil price rally faltered on Friday after recent surges that followed Trump’s Iran decision and data showing improving US demand.

However, both main contracts remain close to peaks not seen since November 2014 and there is still talk of further rises to around $80 a barrel.

An exchange of rockets between Israel and Iran was also keeping traders wary of a flare-up in the volatile crude-producing Middle East region, with the Syria crisis still raging.

 – Key figures around 1020 GMT – 

London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,698.64 points 

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 12,982.83

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 5,525.67

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,559.55

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 percent at 22,758.48 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 31,122.06 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,163.26 (close)

New York – Dow: UP 0.8 percent at 24,739.53 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1925 from $1.1915 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3530 from $1.3519

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.27 yen from 109.40 yen

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP one cent at $77.48 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 11 cents at $71.47