A handful of developments on Friday morning helped set markets at ease. Of course, it's worth pointing out that the gradual slide lower for the precious metals means that there's very little fear in the markets at the moment, anyway. Spot gold charted a path slightly above unchanged this morning, adding 0.25% to trade right at $1,250/oz. Spot silver rose 10¢ (+0.65%) to $15.80/oz. Platinum was slightly weaker at $890/oz—its lowest all year—while palladium lost 1.2% to tumble below $1,000/oz.
The main drivers this morning were the nonfarm payrolls report in the U.S. as well as a pair of political deals struck at what might be called the 11th hour. November's NFP data was strong, showing another 228,000 jobs were added during the month. The unempoyment rate held at 4.1% nationally. This followed yesterday's report from the Labor Department that jobless claims saw a slight decrease in the last week of November, falling to 236,000 layoffs. This was the lowest total in five weeks.
Stocks in the U.S. traded higher in response to the data. The dollar was flat at 93.8 on the DXY index while Treasurys saw just a bit of buying pressure, pushing the 10-year yield down just below 2.37%. Bitcoin prices continued to fluctuate wildly.
Undoubtedly, U.S. markets also breathed a sigh of relief that Congress appears to have reached a short-term agreement to keep the government running. A bill to extend federal funding for another two weeks is expected to be signed by President Trump. This would delay the debate over spending until right before the Christmas holiday. Such temporary measures are fairly common this time of year in the capital, and it allows Congress to focus instead on passing tax reform in the meantime.
Another accord seems to have been reached in the contentious Brexit negotiations. Although reports are indicating that a general agreement on the terms of the settlement has been reached, it's basically just another carrot for negotiators to dangle in future talks. Nonetheless, the pound sterling rallied to a six-month high above $1.34 after the supposed "breakthrough." The euro and yen lost ground against the dollar, trading at $1.175 and ¥113.3 per dollar, respectively.
Commodities largely rebounded on Friday morning, led by the agriculture and energy sectors. Crude oil prices jumped 1.8%, sending WTI crude to $57.70/bbl and Brent crude to $63.30/bbl.
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