Boris Johnson warned that a no-deal Brexit is a strong possibility
U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday after the official report showed that 835,000 people applied for unemployment last month, the highest level since September. Adding to the negative pressure in the markets, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican senators won’t support giving $160 billion to state and local governments. As a result, the S&P 500 slipped 0.13%, the Dow Jones dropped 0.23%, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.54%.
Today in Asia, equities were mixed despite progress on COVID-19 vaccines, as uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations and U.S. stimulus talks overshadowed investor optimism over vaccination. As such, MSCI’s ex-Japan Asia-Pacific index firmed 0.3%, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.77% and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.39%.
European stock markets opened marginally lower on Friday, with S&P 500 and Dow futures were more flat on the day, while Nasdaq futures slipped 0.2%. on the negative side, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that she has low expectations that the EU can reach a Brexit deal with the UK. Of note, the UK PM Boris Johnson warned yesterday that a no-deal Brexit is a “strong possibility”.
As for currencies, the dollar is little changed at the start of the European session on Friday. EURUSD struggles for direction after rejection from four-day tops registered in Asia. Anyway, the pair is holding above the 1.2100 handle following yesterday’s rally that was seen despite the ECB expanded and extended its QE program.
Elsewhere, the bitcoin price has been retreating for the fifth day in a row on Friday. Earlier this week, the 20-DMA turned back into resistance, signaling some deterioration in the short-term technical picture. As of writing, BTCUSD was changing hands around $17,850, marginally off intraday lows around $17,680. If the selling pressure intensifies any time soon, the digital currency could target the $17,000 handle first.