Markets on Hold a Day After Wall Street Clinched Fresh Record -- 2nd Update

By Riva Gold and Suryatapa BhattacharyaFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Stocks little changed in Europe and Asia

-- ECB minutes eyed

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-- Spanish assets recover

Stock moves were muted Thursday with the S&P 500 angling at its longest streak of record closes in 20 years.

Futures pointed to a less than 0.1% opening gain on Wall Street, a day after gains in internet retailers pushed the S&P 500 to its seventh straight session of advances.

U.S. stocks have been buoyed in recent sessions by continued signs that the economy remains on track and expectations of another quarter of above-average earnings growth.

"Investors understand data will be flipping over next month due to the impact of hurricanes," said Dave Donabedian, chief investment officer at CIBC Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management. "But I still think there will be rising confidence in the idea that this economic expansion is not over."

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.2% midday after snapping a nine-session winning streak on Wednesday, its longest in over two years.

Spanish stocks showed signs of recovering, however, with Spain's IBEX 35 index adding 1% -- led by gains in utility companies -- after sliding 2.9% Wednesday, its biggest percentage decline in more than a year.

Catalonia set a course toward declaring its secession from Spain as soon as Monday as Catalan President Carles Puigdemont made a televised address in which he took issue with a speech Spain's king made the previous evening admonishing the region's leaders for "inadmissible disloyalty."

"The potential for independence has been really priced out [by investors] as a tail risk with the stance the Spanish government has been taking," said Martin Arnold, strategist at ETF Securities. Even if Catalonia did break off, the euro would likely remain resilient due to strength the wider eurozone economy, he said.

Investors also eyed minutes of the European Central Bank's September meeting. ECB President Mario Draghi signaled after that meeting that his bank could announce a plan to gradually end its bond-buying program in 2018.

Minutes showed policy makers discussed how to scale back stimulus.

The euro was last down 0.2% at $1.1742 while the British pound fell 0.5% to $1.3179 following several disappointing economic data releases this week.

Yields on German 10-year government bonds fell to 0.439% from 0.447%, echoing a modest pullback in Treasury yields to 2.320%. Spanish 10-year yields fell to 1.724% from 1.765% and Italian yields fell to 2.218% from 2.244% after climbing to start the week. Investor appetite was intact at Spain's government bond auction Thursday, its first since Sunday's referendum.

Earlier, Singapore's banking and real-estate stocks moved higher, sending The FTSE Straits Times Index up 0.7% after two sessions of declines.

The Nikkei Stock Average was unchanged with few economic data releases on the docket ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs report. Still, slight gains in the dollar against the yen earlier helped support exporters' shares, as a weaker yen raises the value in local currency terms of the dollars earned by Japanese exporters abroad.

Trading in the region was otherwise muted as several key markets were shut for holidays. Markets in South Korea and China are closed for the entire week, while Hong Kong was shut on Thursday.

--Kosaku Narioka and Emese Bartha contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2017 08:16 ET (12:16 GMT)