Global stocks remained resilient Friday, despite growing geopolitical concerns following President Donald Trump's cancellation of a summit with North Korea, as investors were soothed by a measured response from Pyongyang and calming volatility in U.S. stock markets.
Trump's decision to scrap the much-anticipated June 12 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as his recent moves on tariffs and criticism of ongoing trade talks with China, hasn't hit markets in a significant way this week, with the CBOE's key measure of equity volatility, the VIX index, falling to four-month lows and 10-year government bond yields holding around the 3% mark.
An official response from Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, which noted that North Korea was "highly appreciated President Trump for having made the bold decision, which any other U.S. presidents dared not, and made efforts for such a crucial event as the summit," and suggested talks could still place, provided markets with broader support Friday as investors head into a three-day weekend in the U.K. and the United States.
Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
Wall Street is looking at modest opening bell declines, according to U.S. equity futures prices, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) shares extended gains in pre-market trading Friday, giving the online streaming service another crack at overtaking Walt Disney Co. (DIS) as America's most valuable entertainment company.
The Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix, founded just 20 years ago by Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings, briefly surpassed its iconic 95-year-old rival in terms of market value in Thursday trading after the shares hit a record high of $354.00 each, bolstered in part by a new content agreement with former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle. Disney, which is attempting to buy the media assets of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox (FOXA) , has fallen 1.8% this week amid a potentially superior offer from rival Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) .
Netflix shares were marked 0.97% higher in pre-market trading Friday, suggesting an opening bell price of $352.90 each, a move that would extend the stock's extraordinary year-to-date gain past 87% and give it a market value of $153.3 billion, just shy of the $153.6 billion value of Disney, based on last night's closing price of $102.11.
European markets got off to a solid start, with the Stoxx 600 rising 0.24% by early afternoon in Frankfurt as a stronger U.S dollar holds down regional currencies and boosts the attractiveness of benchmarks around the region.
The euro rebounded from six month lows to change hands at 1.1675, but gains were limited thanks in part to ongoing concerns over the fiscal ambitions of the potential coalition government in Italy continue to test bond market patience.
That has taken the yield on benchmark 10-year Italian government bonds, known as BTPs, to a fresh 10-year high of 2.45% and widened the extra yield, or spread, that investors demand to hold them instead of triple-A rated bunds to a one-year high of 2.0%.
Italy's FTSE MIB index of bluechip shares was marked 1% lower while a sub-index of Italian bank shares fell 1.9% to an 11-month low.
Overnight in Asia, the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan benchmark edged 0.10% higher as the session neared its weekly close, while Japan's Nikkei 225 managed to scrape 0.06% into the green and end the week at 22,450.79 points.
Global oil prices fell sharply Friday after energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia confirmed plans to ease production cuts in order to offset supply shortfalls from Venezuela in a coordinated effort to sooth concerns over rising crude costs.
Both Khalid al Falih, Saudi Arabia's powerful energy minister, and Russia's Alexander Novak said the output changes would be gradual, but wouldn't define the daily additional barrels of oil to the market until OPEC minsters met and discussed the terms at their meeting next month in Vienna
Brent crude futures for July delivery fell more than $1.85 per barrel following the statements, taking the global benchmark for prices to $76.94 per barrel in late morning trading in London. WTI futures contracts for the same month, which are more tightly connected to U.S. gasoline prices, fell $1.48 a barrel to $69.23.