London — World shares were broadly higher on Friday, but were set to end September with their worst quarterly performance in a year, haunted by worries about elevated interest rates.
European shares rose, helped by gains for luxury stocks, and US equity futures pointed to a firm start for Wall Street later in the day.
Yet, as the third quarter draws to a close, world stock markets are left nursing heavy losses on rising bond yields.
Bond markets were broadly stable but are also ending a torrid quarter. Eurozone government bond yields, which along with US Treasury yields have hit fresh multiyear highs this week, are heading for their biggest quarterly rise in a year.
“Yields are way to high and will move lower but we’re in that gap between now and when that happens,” James Rossiter, head of global macro strategy at TD Securities in London, said.
“It feels like (10-year US Treasury) yields could break up to 5% but ultimately they will move lower.”
In London trade on Friday, the 10-year US Treasury yield was down 5 basis points (bps) at 4.54%, having risen to a 16-year high on Thursday.
Germany’s 10-year government bond yield, the benchmark for the euro area, fell 10 bps to 2.86% after jumping 13.5 bps the day before. It was still set to end the week up 14 bps, in its biggest weekly rise since early July.
Meanwhile, British government bonds, which also sold off sharply on Thursday, recovered.
Britain’s economic performance since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has been stronger than previously thought, with faster growth than Germany or France, according to revisions to official data released on Friday.
Asian shares gained over 1% in their best day in weeks, but were still on track for their worst quarterly performance in a year, as were European shares and the MSCI’s world stock index.
Japan’s Nikkei closed a touch lower, while Chinese markets were closed for a holiday and are on a break next week.
Chinese property remained in focus after China Evergrande Group said its founder is being investigated.
Investors are watching out for the US personal consumption expenditures price index and eurozone inflation data.
There was also a focus on Washington where the Democratic-led US Senate forged ahead on Thursday with a bipartisan stopgap funding bill aimed at averting a fourth partial government shutdown in a decade, while the House began voting on partisan Republican spending bills with no chance of becoming law.
The divergent paths of the two chambers increased the odds that federal agencies will run out of money on Sunday, furloughing hundreds of thousands of federal workers and halting a wide range of services.
“People are getting used to partial shutdowns but if it is prolonged and the stakes are raised then the economic consequences start to mount,” said Nordea chief markets strategist Jan von Gerich, adding that the dollar could be hurt if no agreement is reached in Washington.
The dollar index eased 0.40% to 105.79 but hovered near 10-month highs of 106.84 touched earlier this week. The index is up roughly 2% this month and set for second straight month of gains.
The Japanese yen was at 148.93 per dollar, winning a respite for now with markets on alert for potential intervention from Japanese authorities.
Core inflation in Japan’s capital slowed in September for the third straight month mainly on falling fuel costs, data showed on Friday, suggesting that cost-push pressures are starting to peak, in a relief for the fragile economic recovery.
Oil prices regained ground after a brief pause in a rally as traders weighed expectations of supply increases by Russia and Saudi Arabia versus forecasts of positive demand from China during its Golden Week holiday.
US crude rose 0.2% to $91.88 per barrel and Brent was at $95.22, little changed on the day.
Gold prices were braced for their biggest monthly fall since February, hovering around six-month lows. Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,872 an ounce.