European equity markets fluctuated strongly and extended losses in today’s trading session as persistent concerns regarding Greek debt issues continue to dominate the markets. The CAC, DAX, IBEX and London equity benchmark index retreated between 0.2% and 1.1%. However, the euro climbed higher towards 1.145 against the US dollar.
The Eurozone’s finance ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting in Brussels next Wednesday 11th February, just a day before the EU summit, to discuss specifically Greece’s debt concerns. The new Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will meet all his European counterparts in the upcoming 19-country Eurogroup meeting.
On the macroeconomic front, the Bank of England kept its interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, as expected, while sterling edged higher and surged above 1.43 against the USD in today’s trading session.
In the US, weekly jobless claims rose 278,000 last week versus analysts’ estimates of 290,000 rise, while Challenger layoffs increased largely by 17.6% in January compared to a 6.6% increase in December. The Dow Jones surged over 150 points (+0.9%) towards 17,850.
Crude oil prices rebounded and climbed higher in correction today, supported by a weaker US dollar. Brent front month futures surged above $56 per barrel and WTI front month futures rallied towards $51 per barrel.