Yen posts biggest weekly gain since 2008, stocks fall | Reuters

NEW YORK The yen hit an 18-month high on Friday as investors bet the Bank of Japan might be done adding stimulus to the economy, while stocks in Europe and on Wall Street headed lower as earnings disappointed.

Major European stock indexes closed down more than 2 percent and U.S. equities were about 0.7 percent lower.

The yen was on track for its biggest weekly gain since the 2008 financial crisis, also spurred by a weak reading of U.S. economic growth on Thursday and the Federal Reserve's cautious tone this week.

The yen has gained 3 percent since Thursday when the BOJ decided to hold monetary policy steady in the face of soft global demand and the yen's recent sharp rise. The BOJ move defied expectations for increased stimulus measures to fight deflation.

The dollar was last down 1.12 percent against the yen at 106.87 yen after hitting an 18-month low of 106.70. The dollar is off about 4 percent against the yen for the week, on track to post its biggest weekly loss since October 2008.

The dollar also tumbled against the euro, with the euro hitting its highest level against the dollar in two and a half weeks, at $1.1459. The euro was last up 0.76 percent against the dollar at $1.1437.

"It’s just a continuation of momentum after the BOJ policy announcement," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New York.

European equities posted their biggest weekly drop in more than two months, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares falling 2.2 percent and the euro zone blue chip Euro STOXX 50 tumbling 3.1 percent.

MSCI's all-country world stock index fell 0.6 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 111.8 points, or 0.63 percent, to 17,718.96. The S&P 500 slid 15.7 points, or 0.76 percent, to 2,060.11 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 39.86 points, or 0.83 percent, to 4,765.43.

Rahul Shah, chief executive of Ideal Asset Management in New York, said valuations are high, so earnings must exceed that bar for the market to go higher.

"We've seen that from Amazon and Facebook, and those shares have been awarded accordingly," Shah said. "But the rest of the earnings reports have been less inspiring to say the least, so it's hard to see the overall market march much higher."

Amazon shares jumped 9.32 percent to $658.11 a day after the company reported profit and revenue that swept away analysts' estimates, along with doubts about the online retailer's investment spree.

Facebook earlier in the week reported revenue rose more than 50 percent, driving its shares up more than 7 percent on Thursday. Facebook fell 0.24 percent to $116.45 on Friday.

Brent crude trimmed gains after its biggest monthly rise in seven years. It touched 2016 highs as a weak dollar and falling U.S. production tempered concerns about an oil glut.

A looming rise in Middle East output capped gains, but investor sentiment held the optimism that has helped lift oil futures nearly 80 percent from January lows.

Brent futures traded at $47.84 a barrel, down 0.62 percent and U.S. crude was off 0.7 percent at $45.70.

U.S. Treasury prices fell, with the benchmark 10-year note trading at break-even in price, to yield 1.8404 percent.

Germany's benchmark Bund yield rose sharply toward six-week highs, as the yield gained as much as 5 basis point to 0.305 percent.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Apr 30, 2016 00:00:13 IST

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