Asian markets rose on Thursday, ahead of the ECB’s press conference. The Kospi rose .4% to 1881, and the ASX 200 climbed .8% to 4313, as investors ignored an unexpected drop in Australian employment data. Reports of a massive $110 billion railway plan in China lifted stocks, as the Shanghai Composite advanced .7% to 2052, and the Hang Seng edged up .3% to 19209. The Nikkei ended flat at 8681.
European markets surged after ECB president Mario Draghi announced a plan to purchase bonds in the secondary market to lower interest rates for struggling debt holders. Spain’s IBEX jumped 4.9% leading the advance. The CAC40 climbed 3.1%, the DAX gained 2.9%, and the FTSE rose 2.1%.
Amazon announced its new generation of Kindle Fire tablets, including an 8.9” and 7” model.
Treasuries and Commodities
10-year notes tumbled 23/32 to yield 1.67%, and 30-year notes tanked 1 26/32 to yield 2.80%.
Crude oil slipped .5% to 94.86, and natural gas sank 1.5% to 2.754. Gasoline rallied 1.4% to 2.991.
Silver gained 1.3% to 32.75, gold ticked up .7% to 1703.20, while copper slipped .5% to 3.511.
The Dollar fell, as investors poured into risk. Commodity currencies led the advanced, as the Australian Dollar rallied .9% to 1.0281, and the Canadian Dollar jumped .8% to .9826. The Euro initially fell after the ECB announcement, but quickly reversed, closing up .2% to 1.2632. The Pound and Swiss Franc rose .2% as well.
Thursday’s economic data was quite upbeat. Weekly unemployment claims dropped to 365K from 377K, and the ADP employment report showed the economy added 201K jobs last month, blowing past forecasts for a gain of 142K. ISM non-manufacturing PMI ticked up to 53.7 from 52.6.
Friday’s key report will be non-farm payrolls, which are expected to rise by 123K. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain at 8.3%.