– US stocks closed 0.2% lower Friday, erasing intra-day gains into the close as US political risk continued to dominate. Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, became the latest high-ranking official to leave the White House on Friday.
– The standout fall in stocks for the session came from the retail sector, with Footlocker’s share price declining 28% on poor results, highlighting the pressure that online retailing continues to have on traditional brick and mortar businesses.
– Oil prices, however, bucked the trend among risk assets, gaining 3.3% following positive US inventories data.
– European equities mirrored moves in the US, trading 0.5% lower. Real Estate and Media stocks were the primary underperformers for the session.
– A key area of focus for markets this week will be the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which begins this Thursday. Markets will be looking for any details of how central banks will exit from their ultra-accommodative policies, with a key focus on a speech to be delivered by ECB President Mario Draghi.
– Asian equities were mixed overnight. Chinese equities rose 0.5% as investors favoured growth markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
– Japanese stocks, however, declined 0.4% as angst over terrorist attacks in Europe and simmering tensions between the US and Japan’s neighbour North Korea have been a boon to the yen as a safe-haven.