Americas Roundup-Dollar index holds losses after U.S. jobless claims data, US stocks rises, Oil prices mixed in choppy trade, rising U.S. production weighs-April 21st 2017

Market Roundup

•     U.S Treasury's Mnuchin says will unveil tax reform plan “very soon”.

•     Macron widens the gap with Le Pen in the 1st round -Ifop Fiducial Poll.

•     Macron still ahead of first round of French election -Opinionway poll.

•     One police officer killed, another wounded in Paris shooting-police.

•     BOJ's Kuroda says geopolitical risks cloud outlook-Bloomberg TV.

•     US weekly jobless claims 244k forecast 242k and prior 234k.

•     Continuing Claims hit 17yr low
•     US April Philly Fed business conditions +22.0 vs forecast+25 and prior +32.8.

•     U.S March leading indicators +0.4, beating the forecast for +0.2%.

•     Fed's Kaplan: Still think 3 rate increases this year is a good baseline.

•     Kaplan: Action on balance sheet could come as soon or late this year, or early next -BBG.

•     Kaplan: Not factoring fiscal policies into his forecasts,Fed still accomodative but not as much a people think -BBG.

•     Interview-Mexico's peso could strenthen further-finance minster.

•     Mexico peso still undervalued -central bank cheif.

•     Mexico central bank cheif doesn't sound ready to call time on hikes.

•     Brazil inflation undershoots target for target for first time since 2010.

•     IMF can cooperate with Trump to improve global  trade.

•     US 30- year mortgage rates hit five months lows-Freddie.

Looking Ahead – Economic Data (GMT)

•       Japan 0:30:00 Nikkei Mfg PMI April Previous reading 52.4

Looking Ahead – Events, Other Releases (GMT)

•    No Significant Events

Currency Summaries

EUR/USD is likely to find support at 1.0699 levels and currently trading at 1.0726 levels. The pair has made session high at 1.0774 and hit lows at 1.0713 levels. The euro initially inched higher in the early US session on Thursday but reversed course as investors were cautious ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections on Sunday. Polls ahead of the French vote, which begins this weekend, give both far-right and far-left candidates a chance of making it into next month's run-off, though centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron is shown in the lead. However, after surprises in last year's U.S. election and the UK Brexit referendum, voter indecision and low turnout could catch markets wrong-footed yet again. The dollar remained weak against a basket of major currencies as the latest data on domestic jobless claims and business activity in the mid-Atlantic region did not change traders' views of modest U.S. economic growth and low inflation. The dollar index was down 0.25 percent at 99.489 after hitting a more than three-week low of 99.374 earlier in the session.

GBP/USD is supported in the range of 1.2768 levels and currently trading at 1.2817 levels. It reached session high at 1.2845 and dropped to session low at 1.2785 levels. Sterling strengthened against the dollar on Thursday as sterling was boosted after polls showed  British Prime Minister Theresa May was on course to win a landslide in June's snap election cementing the view that she will get a stronger mandate for two years of Brexit talks. The pound surged almost four full cents to its highest level against the dollar since early October on Tuesday after May's surprise calling of an early general election for June 8.After easing off a little on Wednesday, it was back up half a percent on Thursday at around $1.2812 by 1900 GMT, less than a cent away from Tuesday's high of $1.2904. Investors appear to be judging that a stronger mandate for May in parliament would potentially give her more chance of making the major compromises with the European Union necessary to smooth Britain's exit from the bloc and cap any damage to the UK economy. May's Conservatives had 48 percent of the vote in a YouGov poll for The Times on Wednesday, compared with 24 percent for the opposition Labour Party, suggesting a landslide victory under Britain's first past the post electoral system.

USD/CAD is supported at 1.3437 levels and is trading at 1.3469 levels. It has made session high at 1.3497 and lows at 1.3454 levels. The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday after two days of sharp losses, as oil prices dipped and domestic bond yields picked up slightly more than Treasuries. It was trading in a tight range between C$1.3462 and C$1.3495, after changing hands in the C$1.33 range earlier in the week. Oil prices fell further after Wednesday's steep losses, with rising U.S. production weighing against comments from leading Gulf oil producers that an extension to OPEC-led supply cuts was likely. Investors are also awaiting inflation data due at 8:30 a.m. on Friday for further signs that the country's economy is picking up. Economists expect consumer prices to have risen 0.4 percent in March, up from 0.2 percent in February. The Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.3473 to the greenback, or 74.14 U.S. cents, slightly stronger than Wednesday's close of C$1.3463, or 74.18 U.S. cents.

NZD/USD is supported around 0.6981 levels and currently trading at 0.7013 levels. It hit session high at 0.7025 and made session lows at 0.7003 levels. The New Zealand dollar strengthened against dollar on Thursday after first-quarter inflation accelerated to a surprisingly brisk 2.2 percent, the fastest in five years, leading investors to slightly narrow the odds on a future rate hike. The annual pace of inflation moved back above the middle of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's (RBNZ) 1 to 3 percent target band for the first time since 2011.The lift was largely due to temporary gains from higher oil and food prices and a tax hike on alcohol and tobacco. But the core reading was still low, making a rate hike unlikely for now. The New Zealand dollar was up 0.5 percent to $0.7036, not far from a one-month peak of $0.7053 touched on Wednesday. The RBNZ slashed rates over the past year to a record low 1.75 percent and signalled in its February policy statement that it would keep rates at that level for two years or more to boost inflation and offset global uncertainty.

Equities Recap

European shares edged higher on Thursday as investors welcomed results from Man Group and Pandora maintained its outlook, while French equities outperformed ahead of the first round of France's presidential election.

UK's benchmark FTSE 100 closed up by 0.1 percent, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended the day up by 0.25 percent, Germany's Dax ended up by 0.1 percent, France’s CAC finished the day up by 1.7 percent.

U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday, with the Nasdaq closing at a record, as a round of solid earnings led by American Express pushed equities higher.

Dow Jones closed up by 0.86 percent, S&P 500 ended up 0.76 percent, Nasdaq finished the day up  by 0.92 percent.

Treasuries Recap 

 U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday as investors waited on the results from the French presidential election this weekend and as rising risk appetite boosted stocks, after yields fell earlier and broke below key technical resistance.

The 10-year note fell 12/32 in price to yield 2.25 percent. The yield briefly fell as low as 2.165 percent on Tuesday, the lowest level since Nov. 10, and it has tumbled from 2.63 percent on March 14.

Commodities Recap

Gold steadied on Thursday after its biggest one-day drop in more than six weeks, with a retreat in the dollar arresting the slide, though moves were muted as markets await the outcome of the looming French presidential election.

Spot gold was up 0.16 percent at $1,281.02 an ounce by 2:32 p.m. EDT (1832 GMT). The metal hit a five-month high of $1,295.42 on Monday before pulling back, and was on track to fall this week after five straight weeks of gains.

U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up 0.03 percent at $1,283.80.

Oil prices ended mixed on Thursday after a seesaw trading session, as investors weighed rising U.S. production against geopolitical uncertainties and comments from leading Gulf oil producers that an extension to OPEC-led supply cuts was likely.

The benchmark U.S. crude contract, West Texas Intermediate futures, settled down 17 cents for a fourth straight day of losses, to $50.27 a barrel. Brent futures posted modest gains, however, ending up 6 cents to $52.99 a barrel.

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